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Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Chart: Axios Visuals

The coronavirus has now killed 200,000 Americans, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: Whatever context you try to put this in, it is a catastrophe of historic proportions — and is yet another reminder of America's horrific failure to contain the virus.

  • The coronavirus has killed a bigger share of the American population than it has in almost any other wealthy country.
  • The death toll here is equivalent to roughly 65 Sept. 11 attacks. Three times more Americans have died from COVID than died in the Vietnam war — in only a fraction of the time.

This crisis has hit people of color especially hard.

  • Black and Latino Americans are dying at about three times the rate of white Americans.
  • They have also suffered far more from the economic fallout, which has fallen largely on lower-wage, service-industry workers.

And deaths keep coming — we’re averaging roughly 830 per day — even as the country increasingly sees the pandemic as background noise, as live sports resume and schools reopen and interest in news about the pandemic wanes.

Between the lines: The percentage of infected people who ultimately die from the coronavirus is lower now than it was in the outbreak’s earliest months, partly because doctors have gotten better at treating the virus and partly because outbreaks are now occurring within younger and lower-risk groups.

  • Overall cases are on a downward trajectory right now, following an enormous spike over the summer.
  • But the U.S. has never managed to get the virus firmly under control. Cases and deaths could get worse again as the weather gets colder and people move indoors, and the onset of flu season could make treatment more difficult.

Go deeper: We blew it

Go deeper

Updated Dec 31, 2020 - Health

California reports first case of new coronavirus variant

Healthcare workers treating a patient in UCLA Medical Center in Torrence, California, on Dec. 29. Photo: Dania Maxwell/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

California reported its first case of a new variant of the coronavirus that may be more transmissible, AP reports.

The big picture: California is the second state to document a confirmed case of the variant — which originated in the United Kingdom — after Colorado reported the first case in the United States on Tuesday.

At least 3 dead after Amtrak train derails in Montana

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

An Amtrak train derailed near Joplin, Montana, killing at least three people and wounding many others on Saturday afternoon, per a Liberty County Sheriff's Office statement to media outlets.

Details: Some 147 passengers and 13 crew were aboard the Empire Builder train, which runs from Seattle to Chicago, when five cars derailed about 4p.m., Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly Woods said in an emailed statement.

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.