For the second day in a row, the United States has reported a record number of covid-19 deaths, topping even the worst days of the spring surge.

The back-to-back records are dark reminders that, even as vaccines appear to hurtle toward approval, the country is still far from the pandemic’s end. By Thursday evening, the daily U.S. toll topped 3,300. The country recorded 3,140 deaths Wednesday. States in the South and the Midwest, along with California, are contributing most to the increase.

The steadily rising fatality numbers also come after weeks of soaring levels of infection and coronavirus patients in need of hospitalization. Public-health experts anticipate that the country will soon exceed the week’s death milestones nearly every day in the coming two to three months.

Here are some significant developments:

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