May 4, 2019

Midwest faces lethal floodwaters, Canada copes with extreme flooding aftermath

Flood waters surround area businesses near the main breach in the Mississippi River in Davenport, Iowa on Friday, May 3, 2019. Photo: KC McGinnis/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

At least 4 people across the Midwest have died from historic flooding in the region, while heavy rain and flash flood watches go into effect across America's South on Saturday morning.

Why now: These floods are the result of spring snowmelt and a series of storms that have added to the amount of water flowing into the Mississippi River.

The backdrop: Iowa and Illinois have undergone record flooding from the Mississippi River, which has been at major flood stage for over 40 days. Parts of Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas are under a flash flood watches this weekend, as well as parts of the Appalachian region including Charleston, S.C. and up into Maryland and Washington, D.C.

What to watch: Areas near Ontario, Canada continue to respond to flooding that began a week ago. The Ottawa River regulation planning board indicated that water levels are expected to increase or remain the same in most of the Ontario region. In America's Midwest, officials say it could be a month before the water completely clears.

Go deeper: NOAA warns of "unprecedented flood season" across U.S.

Go deeper

U.S. coronavirus updates: Chicago jail is largest-known source of coronavirus

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Chicago's Cook County jail is the largest-known source of coronavirus infections in the U.S., the New York Times reports. The White House has identified Chicago's metro area as a risk for exponential growth of the virus.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 27 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 1,504,971 — Total deaths: 87,984 — Total recoveries: 318,068Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 424,945 — Total deaths: 14,529 — Total recoveries: 23,292Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business update: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World update: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment update: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow3 hours ago - Health