Start your day here: COVID drives up U.S. death rate; why test kits are so scarce; migrants are trapped at the Polish border

Published December 22, 2021 at 8:10 AM EST
A migrant squats for a meal at a transport center on the Belarusian-Polish border.
Andrei Pokumeiko/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images
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AFP
Migrants receive food outside the transport and logistics center near the Bruzgi border point on the Belarusian-Polish border in the Grodno region on Nov. 22.

Good morning,

Here's what we're following today:

The U.S. death rate: COVID sent the death rate soaring in 2020, prompting the biggest drop in life expectancy seen in decades, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

COVID-19 testing: With omicron tearing through the U.S. and families planning for holiday gatherings, demand for at-home test kits is soaring. Here's why the supply is so short.

Belarusian migrants: Thousands have spent months trapped in miserable conditions on the Polish border, caught in a political standoff between Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko and the European Union.

🎧 Also, on Up First, our daily podcast, the National Hockey League is pausing games because of omicron's spread.

— The Morning Edition live blog team

(Carol Ritchie, Rachel Treisman, Nell Clark and Chris Hopkins)