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

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Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Europe is now recording far more new coronavirus cases than ever before.

The big picture: One reason is testing. Deaths and hospitalizations remain far below the levels seen in the spring, though they continue to tick upward.

  • Officials in Spain and France are scrambling to respond to their particularly worrying outbreaks. Madrid is now under quarantine, while Paris has closed bars for two weeks.
  • Germany had fared better but is now facing a spike. Germany's public health agency said "parties and family gatherings, including weddings, birthdays and funerals, were the main sources of new infections," per the WSJ.

The flipside: Hope is rising that Latin America is now past the peak of a long, brutal climb.

  • Hard-hit countries including Brazil, Mexico and Peru have all seen significant declines in new cases and deaths.
  • It's unclear whether the encouraging trend will continue. The WSJ warns that "Latin Americans, comforted by the recent declines, have filled hair salons, bars and gyms."
  • "With only 8% of the world’s population, Latin America has now accounted for a third of global deaths from Covid-19."

India's case count is also trending downward, though it's too early to conclude the worst is over.

Go deeper

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.