Aug 13, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus cases are falling, but don't get too comfortable

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Danielle Alberti, Sara Wise/Axios

America's coronavirus outbreak is slowing down after a summer of explosive growth.

By the numbers: The U.S. is averaging roughly 52,000 new cases per day — still a lot of cases, but about 10.5% fewer than it was averaging last week.

Where it stands: New cases slowed over the past week in 21 states, including Arizona, Florida, Texas and the Southern states that experienced dramatic outbreaks in June and July.

  • Details: Each week, Axios tracks the change in new cases in each state. We use a seven-day average to minimize disruptions from inconsistencies in states’ reporting.

The big picture: Infections skyrocketed over the summer, and this week’s improvements aren’t enough to offset that damage. States will have to keep this downward trend going for a long time before they can consider their outbreaks to be well controlled.

The catch: Testing is also down across the U.S., by about 4.5%.

  • Tighter limits on testing may help reduce the long turnaround times — often close to two weeks — that had made testing significantly less useful.
  • But it could also mean that some infected people will slip through the cracks, potentially infecting others before they begin to feel sick.

The bottom line: Progress has to start somewhere, and these numbers are encouraging. But the U.S. still has a very big coronavirus outbreak and a flawed, incomplete plan of attack to fight it.

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