Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections slowed by nearly 16% over the past week, continuing a trend of rapid improvement.

The big picture: The U.S. still has a ton of coronavirus, and there’s still the potential for dark days ahead. But this is progress, and the improvement is significant. If this trend keeps going, the country will be in a far better and safer position as vaccines continue to roll out.

By the numbers: Nationwide, the U.S. is averaging about 139,000 new cases per day — a 16% improvement over last week, which was a 16% improvement over the week before.

  • The number of new hospitalizations was also down last week, by just over 26%.
  • And deaths fell by about 6%, to an average of 3,097 deaths per day.

Between the lines: 139,000 cases and 3,000 deaths per day is still a very bad pandemic, but at least the numbers are headed in the right direction.

  • The U.S. is back at about the same caseload we were experiencing shortly before Thanksgiving.
  • The number of new daily cases fell over the past week in 42 states, and held steady in the remaining eight states. No state got worse — another sign that this improvement could be sustainable.

Yes, but: Experts warn that a more contagious variant of the virus is quickly becoming the dominant strain within the U.S.

  • As it gains more ground, each infected person is more likely to infect others. And because the U.S. still has so many infected people, that could cause cases to spike again.
  • But the best protection against another surge in cases, hospitalizations and deaths is to get cases down and keep them there — and that’s what we’re doing.

Each week, Axios tracks the change in new infections in each state. We use a seven-day average to minimize the effects of day-to-day discrepancies in states’ reporting.

Go deeper

Feb 3, 2021 - Health

Biden admin to open first mass COVID vaccination sites in California

A "super site" COVID-19 vaccination event by the San Bernardino County health department on Feb. 2 in Fontana, California. Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The first federally organized mass coronavirus vaccination sites are expected to open in Oakland and Los Angeles, California, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Although cases and hospitalizations are dropping in the state, coronavirus deaths remain steady. The state has reported over 3.3 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic — the most of any state in the U.S., per Johns Hopkins data.

Feb 3, 2021 - Health

Fauci pleads: Skip the Super Bowl parties

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden administration would really prefer that people "lay low" on Super Bowl Sunday.

Why it matters: This is the first national event that features multi-family gatherings since New Year's, with growing concerns about the COVID-19 variants.