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Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, U.S. Census Bureau. Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

In addition to keeping an eye on the tragic, and climbing, numbers of total coronavirus cases and deaths across the U.S., it's important to watch how those trends are playing out over time at the state level.

Why it matters: Rising, or falling, numbers of cases is one of the key metrics for determining where mitigation efforts are working and when the economy can begin to reopen.

The Trump administration's reopening guidelines detail that in order to start lifting restrictions and reopening the economy, a state needs to report 14-day trends of fewer cases or fewer positive tests (though local officials do get some leeway in adjusting the metrics).

  • Not a lot of states meet that criteria.

Our chart compares each state's seven-day average of new cases from Monday and the seven-day average from a week prior, April 27. Comparing the averages of two dates helps smooth out a lot of the noise in how states sometimes inconsistently conduct and report tests.

  • By this metric, Minnesota, Nebraska and Puerto Rico have the most worrisome trends, while Arkansas and Wyoming have the most positive trends. Twelve states are moving in the right direction.
  • But more than a third of the nation still has growing numbers of cases. And that includes states such as Texas and Virginia, where Republican and Democratic governors are beginning to unveil re-opening plans.

Yes, but: These trends only tell us so much.

  • Some states may see their case counts rise not necessarily because their outbreaks are getting dramatically worse, but because their testing is getting better, so they're catching more cases.
  • That's why health officials are also pulling in other metrics — including the number of deaths, the number of hospitalizations and the percentage of tested patients who test positive. A higher percentage means you're probably missing people.
  • Still, public-health guidance calls for a steady decrease in cases before opening up, and few states have achieved that.

The bottom line: The virus isn't just some other states' problem. It's everyone's problem.

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

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

Expand chart
Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Aug 14, 2020 - Health

California passes 600,000 confirmed coronavirus cases

A healthcare worker in Los Angeles handling a coronavirus test on. Aug 11. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California reported almost 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the state's tally to more than 600,000 since the pandemic began, according to the state's Department of Public Health.

Why it matters: California is the first state to surpass the 600,000-case milestone. It also reported 188 deaths associated with the virus on Friday, bumping its total to almost 11,000 — the third-highest death toll in the U.S. behind New York and New Jersey, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Aug 14, 2020 - World

Spain introduces new coronavirus restrictions as cases surge

Madrid's health minister Enrique Ruiz Escudero. Photo: Jesus Hellin/ Europa Press via Getty Images

Spain's government announced Friday that it will shut down nightclubs, ban public smoking and restrict nursing home visits as coronavirus cases climb in the country, per the AP.

The state of play: Spain's daily cases have almost reached the highs seen in March and April when the country was one of Europe's worst-hit, per Johns Hopkins data. So far during this surge, the nation's reported deaths are nowhere near the rate seen in the spring.