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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking ProjectHarvard Global Health Institute; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Deaths and severe illness from the coronavirus continue to set new records almost every day, especially in the South and the West.

The big picture: More than 130,000 Americans are in the hospital today with COVID-19 infections. That's straining several states' health care systems and will keep pushing the virus' death toll higher and higher.

By the numbers: In 34 states, coronavirus patients are occupying at least 10% of all hospital beds.

  • Arizona, California and Nevada are in exceptionally bad shape — over 30% of all the hospital beds in each state are filled with coronavirus patients.
  • 11 states are seeing more hospitalizations now than at any other point in the pandemic.

Why it matters: Hospitalizations are an indicator of severe infection. Mildly sick patients generally aren't hospitalized, especially in states that don't have the capacity to handle many more patients at all.

  • And people who are sick enough to warrant a hospital stay are the patients most at risk of dying from the virus.
  • The virus has already killed roughly 350,000 people in the U.S. and is killing about 3,000 people per day.

The bottom line: The U.S. just seems to have accepted that 3,000 people are going to keep dying every day, at least until we can all get vaccinated — assuming we're all willing to get vaccinated.

Go deeper

17 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives

President Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci acknowledged on CNN's "New Day" Friday that the Trump administration's resistance to following the science on coronavirus policy "very likely" cost lives.

Why it matters: Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, clashed on numerous occasions with former President Trump after contradicting him on scientific issues like the efficacy of masks and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in combating COVID-19.

People of color disadvantaged in coronavirus vaccine effort

Expand chart
Data: GoodRx, U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Communities of color tend to have fewer pharmacies per capita, putting them at a disadvantage in the coronavirus vaccination effort.

Why it matters: If racial disparities aren't addressed in the vaccination effort, including by setting up alternative vaccine sites, communities of color will fall even further behind in a pandemic that has already highlighted deep structural racism within the health care system.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
17 hours ago - Sports

2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

10 months ago, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Now, less than six months ahead of their new start date, the dreaded word is being murmured: "canceled."

Driving the news: The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Games will have to be called off, The Times reports (subscription), citing an unnamed senior government source.

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