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A medical staff member in the COVID-19 intensive care unit of United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas — the first U.S. state to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases. Photo: Go Nakamura/Getty Images

The U.S. is expected to surpass the summer peak of deaths from COVID-19 and near early spring levels this coming week, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: 1,321 people died from the virus on Saturday, as the seven-day average reached 1,100. COVID-19 hospitalizations have hit record highs, with 69,455 people now in the hospital with the virus in the U.S., according to the project.

  • The country has seen the world record for the number of new infections in a single day broken several times in November — including Friday, when 177,224 people tested positive, Johns Hopkins University data shows.
  • 245,600 people have died from the virus and over 10.4 million tested positive in the U.S. as of Sunday morning, per JHU.

What they're saying: "Tests are rising, but cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising much faster," the COVID Tracking Project said in a Twitter post.

Of note: Since May 25, only Aug. 4 had a higher seven-day average of COVID-19 deaths, the project noted.

Go deeper: U.S. surgeon general says "pandemic fatigue" behind soaring cases

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 Jan 28, 2021 - Health

New York AG: State severely undercounted COVID nursing home deaths

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Data from New York's public health department undercounted COVID-19-related deaths in nursing homes by as much as 50%, according to a report released Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.

The big picture: Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration had not been including nursing home patients who died after being transferred to the hospital in its tally of over 8,500 nursing home deaths. Data provided to the attorney general's office from 62 nursing homes "shows a significantly higher number of resident COVID-19 deaths can be identified than is reflected" in the official count.

Federal watchdog finds lack of data, resources impede COVID response

A patient rests in a COVID-19 care site in a parking garage at Renown Regional Medical Center, Reno, Nevada, on Dec. 16. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

National data on COVID-19 testing is incomplete, "critical gaps in the medical supply chain" remain, and a lack of data has stalled delivering key resources to people who need it most, a nonpartisan federal watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO), has found.

Why it matters: The findings come as the rise of more contagious variants ensures that Americans’ risk remains high, despite a three-week decline in the number of COVID infections in the U.S. A greater number of people are also dying from the coronavirus over less time.