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Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University, Census Bureau, United Nations; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak has surpassed Europe's.

Why it matters: It wasn't long ago that public health experts were pointing to Europe as a warning sign for the U.S. But the U.S. now has a higher per capita caseload than the EU ever has during its recent surge.

By the numbers: As of Saturday, 15 states had higher per capita caseloads, averaged over seven days, than the European country with the highest caseload — Luxembourg.

  • The U.S. overall saw 52.4 cases per 100,000 people. The EU saw 37.6 per 100,000 on Saturday, and peaked at 46.7 cases per 100,000 on Nov. 8.

The big picture: Europe's steady rise in coronavirus cases over the last couple of months prompted many countries to bring back lockdowns or other strict behavioral restrictions.

  • Meanwhile, in the U.S., some of the hardest-hit states — like Iowa — are just now adopting mask mandates, and airports over the weekend were packed with people traveling for Thanksgiving.

Yes, but: Cases in the hardest-hit states are starting to trend down, a sign that people are modifying their behavior on their own.

What we're watching: There's no sign that the number of U.S. cases nationally is going to stop rising anytime soon, especially in the absence of strong federal or state restrictions.

  • Hospitalizations and deaths lag behind cases by a few weeks. That means that Europe likely has easier days ahead, while America's dark days are just getting started.
  • In the U.S., today's overwhelmed hospitals will continue to keep getting hit with ever-growing caseloads for awhile.

Go deeper: See all U.S. states' and EU countries' per capita caseloads.

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.

Updated Dec 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

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