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Data: JAMA; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

There was a 20% increase over expected deaths in the U.S. between March 1 and Aug. 1., per a study published in JAMA on Monday.

Why it matters: Experts say that excess deaths are the best way to measure the true impact of the pandemic, as the number accounts for people who died of the virus itself without being counted and those who died of causes that could have been prevented in non-pandemic times.

  • Only 67% of the 225,530 excess deaths were attributed to the coronavirus.

Details: States have had widely varying experiences, with those hit hardest early on in the pandemic — New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts — seeing much higher excess death rates than the rest of the country.

  • These three states accounted for 30% of all excess deaths in the U.S., even though they had shorter outbreaks than states that saw surges over the summer.

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Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

Pence to continue traveling despite aides testing positive for COVID-19

Marc Short with Pence in March. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force. Pence and second lady Karen Pence tested negative for the virus on Sunday morning, according to the vice president's office.