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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

More than one in five U.S. hospitals don't have enough workers right now as hospitals fill up with coronavirus patients, especially in the Midwest, The Atlantic reports.

Why it matters: Even though doctors have gotten better at treating the virus, all that progress doesn't matter if there's no one to deliver care to a patient.

What's happening: The U.S. is setting new coronavirus hospitalization records, with 73,000 patients hospitalized this week.

  • During the week of Nov. 4 to Nov. 11, 19% of American hospitals faced a staffing shortage. This week, 22% of hospitals said they expect a shortage, according to data provided to The Atlantic by the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • In some states, the situation is worse: More than 35% of hospitals in Arkansas, Missouri, North Dakota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin are anticipating a staffing shortage this week.

Between the lines: The shortages are due to staff members getting sick or exposed to the virus, thus having to quarantine, and to more patients arriving at the hospital seeking care.

What we're watching: The COVID Tracking Project, which is a project of The Atlantic, has found that an increase in cases translates into an increase in hospitalizations about 12 days later.

  • That means that hospitals' problems are about to get a lot worse. Over the last 12 days, the seven-day average of new cases has increased from less than 90,000 a day to 150,000 a day.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

J&J says its one-shot vaccine is 66% effective against moderate to severe COVID

Photo: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson announced Friday that its single-shot coronavirus vaccine was 66% effective in protecting against moderate to severe COVID-19 disease in Phase 3 trials, which was comprised of nearly 44,000 participants across eight countries.

Between the lines: The vaccine was 72% effective in the U.S., but only 57% effective in South Africa, where a more contagious variant has been spreading. It prevented 85% of severe infections and 100% of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the company.