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Helath care worker in ICU. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP /AFP via Getty Images

About 285,000 more people have died in the U.S. than anticipated, and 66% of those fatalities were due to COVID-19, a report out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows.

By the numbers: The deaths, recorded between Feb. 1 and Sept. 16, disproportionately affect Latinx and Black Americans. The "excess death" rate among 25-to-44 year-olds is also up about 27% from previous years.

The big picture: The coronavirus is on track to be the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. by the end of the year, behind heart disease and cancer. At least 219,000 people have died of COVID-19 so far.

Go deeper: Which states have seen the most excess deaths because of the coronavirus

Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - Health

South Carolina reports first-known U.S. cases of South African COVID variant

A health care worker giving a patient a dose of coronavirus vaccine in an assisted living home in Sumter, S.C., on Jan. 26. Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Carolina health officials have reported the first-known U.S. COVID-19 cases of a fast-spreading variant discovered in South Africa, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Thursday.

Why it matters: Though the CDC has "no evidence that infections by this variant cause more severe disease," preliminary data indicates it may spread faster and more easily than other variants.

Federal watchdog finds lack of data, resources impede COVID response

A patient rests in a COVID-19 care site in a parking garage at Renown Regional Medical Center, Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 16. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

National data on COVID-19 testing is incomplete, "critical gaps in the medical supply chain" remain, and a lack of data has stalled delivering key resources to people who need it most, a nonpartisan federal watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), has found.

Why it matters: The findings come as the rise of more contagious variants ensures that Americans’ risk remains high, despite a three-week decline in the number of COVID infections in the U.S. A greater number of people are also dying from the coronavirus over less time.

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