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Data: IHME COVID-19 health service utilization forecasting team; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Although the coronavirus is expected to peak in the U.S. in two weeks, many states will see their individual peaks well after that, according to a model by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Why it matters: States like Virginia and Maryland have more time to prepare for their systems to be maximally strained — if they make good use of that time.

States' coronavirus peaks are defined as the point at which there is the most demand for resources, namely hospital beds and ventilators.

  • This is also the point at which the most health care workers will be needed to care for coronavirus patients.

Some experts warn that states expected to face the hardest hit later in the year aren't using their lead time well.

  • "The states that are going to be affected last need to start husbanding resources now, because the feds could get tapped out ... by some of these early states, particularly New York, which has absorbed a lot of federal resources," former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told me.
  • Even though they may not be seeing a huge number of cases now, states like Texas and Florida should stop doing elective surgeries now in order to preserve personal protective equipment — like masks, gowns and gloves — for their health care workers, Gottlieb added.

The bottom line: Coronavirus outbreaks, both globally and in the U.S., have seemed manageable until it's too late. For states that so far aren't hit hard, there's no such thing as over-preparing.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Go deeper

7 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.