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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Americans increasingly have no idea where they're catching the virus, and contact tracing efforts are falling apart in the face of the sheer number of cases, NYT reports.

Why it matters: It's much easier to close down a meatpacking plant — or even contain an outbreak in a nursing home — than to contain a virus spreading rapidly through the population from an unknown number of origins.

Between the lines: The number of cases is several times above what experts say is realistic for contact tracing, and health officials in some places have given up on tracking the virus.

  • Earlier on in the pandemic, uncontrolled spread was limited to a few major cities or specific regions, but it's now happening across the country.

The big picture: "The problem, of course, is that failing to fully track the virus makes it much harder to get a sense of where the virus is flourishing, and how to get ahead of new outbreaks," NYT writes.

  • "But once an area spins out of control, trying to trace back each chain of transmission can feel like scooping cupfuls of water from a flood."

The bottom line: The U.S. has attempted to use a strategy of testing, tracing and isolation to keep the pandemic in check. But the virus is very much out of control, and this strategy is falling apart. That leaves a serious question of where we go from here.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
18 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus hotspots far outpacing Europe's

Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University, Census Bureau, United Nations; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak has surpassed Europe's.

Why it matters: It wasn't long ago that public health experts were pointing to Europe as a warning sign for the U.S. But the U.S. now has a higher per capita caseload than the EU ever has during its recent surge.

The biggest pandemic labor market drags

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

State economies most exposed to industries that have been slow to bounce back from the pandemic shutdown — like tourism — are seeing the worst labor market pain.

Why it matters: Even states that have the coronavirus more under control than others are taking harder economic hits, thanks to their dependence on sectors slammed by the pandemic.

21 hours ago - Politics & Policy

California governor and family in quarantine after coronavirus exposure

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) tweeted late Sunday that he and his family are quarantining after being exposed to COVID-19.

Details: Newsom said they learned Friday that three of his children had come into contact with a California Highway Patrol officer who tested positive for the coronavirus. "Thankfully, the entire family tested negative today," Newsom said.