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Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: After a database error, Missouri has not reported cases since Oct. 10; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

Coronavirus infections jumped by almost 17% over the past week as the number of new cases increased in 38 states and Washington, D.C.

Why it matters: The U.S. is headed solidly in the wrong direction — and at a dangerous time, as experts say the fall and winter will likely make the pandemic worse. They had hoped we could get cases under control before then, but that seems unrealistic.

By the numbers: The U.S. racked up an average of up 51,000 new cases per day over the past week.

  • The number of new infections rose in 38 states, spanning every region of the country.
  • Three states — Montana, New Mexico and South Dakota — saw their case counts rise by over 50%.
  • The pace of new infections slowed down in only one state: Texas.

Testing also increased over the past week.

  • The U.S. is now conducting roughly 1 million tests per day, up about 6% from the week before.
  • But the increase in cases is bigger than the increase in testing, which is a sign of an actual worsening outbreak.

The big picture: The U.S. has consistently failed to control the virus, and we are failing to control it now.

  • Experts say the fall and winter will likely make things worse, as colder weather causes people to move their socializing indoors, where the virus can spread more easily. If those assumptions bear out, those increases will come on top of a caseload that's already too high.

How it works: 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

Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategy

Biden signs executive orders on Jan. 21. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better": President Biden expects 100,000 Americans to die from COVID-19 during his first six weeks in office.

The big picture: Biden said he's putting America on a wartime footing against the virus, signing 10 executive orders today alone.

Jan 22, 2021 - Health

Fauci: Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives

President Biden's chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci acknowledged on CNN's "New Day" Friday that the Trump administration's resistance to following the science on coronavirus policy "very likely" cost lives.

Why it matters: Fauci, the government's top infectious diseases expert, clashed on numerous occasions with former President Trump after contradicting him on scientific issues like the efficacy of masks and the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine in combating COVID-19.

Jan 22, 2021 - Health

Stabenow: U.S. must put pandemic relief before EV manufacturing

Photo: Axios screenshot

The U.S. needs to focus on helping people get through the coronavirus pandemic before turning to manufacturing, including electric vehicles, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said on Friday at an Axios virtual event.

What she's saying: "We've got to deal with getting our arms around the vaccine, around the pandemic with the vaccines, helping people survive. And ... then robustly reopen the economy. And certainly, clean energy, jobs, is a big part of that."