The election might be top of mind but 234,000 people are dead, with many in swing states

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Good afternoon, readers.

I imagine that there’s a significant amount of readers who are focused on a certain election going on right now.

That’s fine (and I’m not immune to that anxiety.) But we’ll still do our job and report on what’s actually happening, right now, in the reality of Americans’ lives as a pandemic continues to rage. And there are currently more than 234,000 people who have died from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins.

And things are getting worse. The Associated Press reported on Thursday that coronavirus cases are climbing to some 86,000 more instances on average. That’s a surge of some 45% compared to a few weeks ago.

As has been the case over the course of this year, certain people, and certain states, have been disproportionately affected.

Let’s look at some of the most afflicted. Arizona authorities reported more than 2,800 cases and 28 new deaths on Thursday alone. Georgia? A 34% surge in the past two weeks. Pennsylvania is absolutely wild with a total case load of more than 220,000 and a massive spike in daily cases in the past few weeks.

These states are echoing increases all across the country. The vote numbers are critical. And they could change how the country deals with this unprecedented pandemic. But let’s not lose track of the very real human tragedy underway as many of us are glued to our screens.

Read on for the day’s news, and see you next week.

Sy Mukherjee
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com
@the_sy_guy

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