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Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: Does not include probable deaths from New York City; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. surpassed 8 million coronavirus cases on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases across the country increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C., according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios.

By the numbers: Over 218,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and more than 3 million have recovered, per Johns Hopkins. Hospitalizations have jumped more than 14% from a week earlier, per the COVID Tracking Project.

What's happening: Moncef Slaoui, the White House's top scientific advisor to Operation Warp Speed, knows his job may not be over by inauguration day, but tells the Axios Re:Cap podcast that hasn't yet spoken with anyone on Team Biden about vaccine development or deployment.

  • Nearly 900,000 Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week, the Labor Department announced, the highest number since mid-August and the second weekly increase in a row.
  • Some colleges are creating a blueprint for how to safely remain open during the coronavirus pandemic, relying heavily on regular testing and doing what they can to curb parties and other large gatherings.

Trends to watch:

  • Vaccine: All of a sudden, it feels like we're hurtling toward a coronavirus vaccine — with the first doses potentially being administered before the 2020 election.
  • New risk factors: The CDC included more demographic groups at risk for the coronavirus such as younger people who are obese and who have underlying health problems.
  • When to wear a mask: Scientific evidence shows face masks can help control the spread of the virus, but nuances and changes in messaging about their use are complicating public health efforts.
  • Elections: A federal judge in Wisconsin extended the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots, siding with Democrats in a lawsuit to make absentee voting easier in light of the pandemic. Judges in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania have issued similar rulings.
  • Schools: Kids are heading back to school, as students, teachers, administrators and parents try to build a clear picture of how it's going to work.

Go deeper ... In photos: Life in the era of the coronavirus pandemic

Editor's note: The graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14. This article has been updated with new details throughout. Check back for the latest.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Jan 23, 2021 - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Jan 23, 2021 - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Latest James Bond movie release delayed for third time

An advertisement poster featuring Daniel Craig in the new James Bond movie "No Time to Die" in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo: Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images

The release of the latest James Bond film, "No Time to Die," has been postponed for the third time as the coronavirus pandemic continues to devastate Hollywood.

The state of play: The film's release, initially scheduled for April 2020, was first postponed to November 2020, and then to April 2021. MGM said this week that movie's global debut will now be delayed until Oct. 8.

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