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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.

The hard math behind America's labor shortage

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Congressional Budget Office; Chart: Axios Visuals

Yes, the pandemic has created unusual temporary labor market dynamics. But in the bigger picture, the 2010s were a golden age for companies seeking cheap labor. The 2020s are not.

The big picture: In the 2010s, the massive millennial generation was entering the workforce, the massive baby bo0m generation was still hard at work, and there was a multi-year hangover from the deep recession caused by the global financial crisis.

Advocates fret Roe v. Wade's 49th anniversary could be its last

Photo: Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for Women's March Inc

As Saturday marks the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's landmark decision that legalized abortion access in the U.S., advocates warn the ruling is "more at risk now than ever."

The big picture: The Supreme Court in December heard a challenge to a Mississippi 15-week abortion ban that could throw Roe's survival into question, or at least narrow its scope.