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Reproduced from The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

Florida is the new domestic epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and it's on track to keep getting worse.

By the numbers: Of the 20 U.S. metro areas with the highest daily case growth, nine are in Florida, according to Nephron Research.

Driving the news: The state health department announced 132 new deaths yesterday, the most the state has seen since the pandemic began.

Between the lines: Deaths lag several weeks behind new cases, and cases are skyrocketing.

  • The state on Sunday announced more than 15,000 new cases, shattering the single-day case records in New York and California.
  • Florida now has more confirmed cases, adjusted for population, than New York ever had — although New York's true caseload was almost certainly multiple times higher than its official one.

Zoom in: "Miami is now the epicenter of the pandemic. What we were seeing in Wuhan five or six months ago, now we are there,” said Lilian Abbo, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Miami, earlier this week.

  • Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers-Cape Coral, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, West Palm Beach-Boca Raton, Sarasota-Bradenton, Jacksonville and Pensacola are also in the top 20 metro areas, as of July 12.

What we're watching: Hospitals are filling up, Disney World is open and the state is imposing minimal social distancing requirements.

  • Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala told Bloomberg that the state should consider a three-week shutdown. “We’re in a very difficult situation at the moment, and unless we step back and reset our strategy, a lot more people are going to die.”

Go deeper

Trump claims COVID "will go away," Biden calls his response disqualifying

President Trump repeated baseless claims at the final presidential debate that the coronavirus "will go away" and that the U.S. is "rounding the turn," while Joe Biden argued that any president that has allowed 220,000 Americans to die on his watch should not be re-elected.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now averaging about 59,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and added another 73,000 cases on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country recorded 1,038 deaths due to the virus Thursday, the highest since late September.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy.
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker

How the coronavirus pandemic could end

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It's still the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but history, biology and the knowledge gained from our first nine months with COVID-19 point to how the pandemic might end.

The big picture: Pandemics don't last forever. But when they end, it usually isn't because a virus disappears or is eliminated. Instead, they can settle into a population, becoming a constant background presence that occasionally flares up in local outbreaks.