Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The evidence is mounting that America is steamrolling toward a nightmarish failure to control the coronavirus.

Where it stands: We made a lot of mistakes at the beginning, and despite a month of extreme social distancing to try to hit "reset," a hurried reopening now raises the risk that we'll soon be right back where we started.

Driving the news: The Trump administration is in "preliminary discussions" to wind down its coronavirus task force, possibly in early June, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters yesterday.

  • "I think we are looking at phase two, and we're looking at other phases," Trump said.
  • The formal existence of a task force isn't necessarily going to make or break the coronavirus response, but its dissolution is yet another sign that the administration is ready to move on — despite all of the indications that we're not prepared.

What we're watching: The U.S. is still seeing around 30,000 new coronavirus cases a day — and those are just the ones that we're catching because we are still not testing enough people.

  • Even with a robust contact tracing workforce, which we don't have, tracking down the interactions of 30,000 people a day would be an impossible task.
  • And we have no system in place for isolating those people to prevent them from infecting their family members, co-workers or other contacts.
  • Once we lift social distancing measures and people start interacting with one another again, the number of cases will inevitably spike, making containment even more impossible.

We don’t have a treatment or a vaccine, and we're about to loosen the reins on a virus whose reach, symptoms and long-term effects we are still learning.

Yes, but: Some cities and states have been more proactive in building up their public health infrastructure and have said they’ll continue with social distancing until their caseloads indicate it’s safe to begin returning to normal.

  • Places like New York and San Francisco, despite being early hotspots, may end up better off because of their public health systems and prolonged social distancing.

The bottom line: “We may nationally be in a nightmare, but it’s going to be much worse in some places than others," Harvard's Ashish Jha told me.

Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

A coalition of 156 countries agreed Monday to a "landmark" agreement aimed at the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines around the globe, the World Health Organization announced Monday.

The big picture: 64 higher-income countries, including European Union members, are among the signatories to the deal, known as "COVAX." The U.S. is not participating in the scheme.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:45 a.m. ET: 31,374,796 — Total deaths: 965,742— Total recoveries: 21,531,728Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 6,860,484 — Total deaths: 200,005 — Total recoveries: 2,615,9474 — Total tests: 95,841,281Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths. The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Wall Street fears stimulus is doomed.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.
Aug 14, 2020 - Health

The pandemic's toll on mental health

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

One in four Americans between 18 and 24 years old say they've considered suicide in the past month because of the pandemic, according to a survey from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The findings confirm warnings from public health experts about the long-term mental health impacts from the pandemic.

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