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

The coronavirus continues to spread nearly unchecked across almost the entire country: 37 states saw their caseloads increase over the past week, and only two states experienced a meaningful improvement.

Why it matters: These rapidly escalating outbreaks will translate into thousands of deaths and make it all the harder to safely reopen schools or otherwise reclaim some sense of normalcy.

By the numbers: New infections rose by at least 10% last week in 37 states, spanning every region of the country. Six states and Washington, D.C. experienced spikes greater than 50%.

  • Nationwide, new infections rose by 21% since last week — and last week they were up 24% from the week before.

Between the lines: Even some of the states that may not immediately register as bad news are still, in fact, in a bad spot.

  • California, for example, is holding steady after weeks of substantial increases — meaning the scale of its outbreak has still exploded over the course of July and is not beginning to shrink.
  • And while Arizona did experience an 11% decline in new cases over the past week, that barely puts a dent in the stark increases the state has racked up over the course of the summer. There are now roughly 3,200 active cases there.

How it works: Each week, Axios tracks the new confirmed cases in each state. We use a seven-day average to minimize the distortions that can come from single-day reporting.

  • Our map has shown persistent, widespread deterioration for several weeks.

What's next: Experts hope this outbreak won't be as deadly as the virus' initial attack on the New York area, in part because more young people are getting sick now.

  • But deaths are a trailing indicator, and these new waves of infection will undoubtedly kill thousands of people. And if the U.S. doesn't get the virus' spread contained soon, that toll will just keep rising.

Go deeper: We're losing the war on the coronavirus

Go deeper

Oct 23, 2020 - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

Oct 23, 2020 - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.