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Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections fell by roughly 16% over the past week in the U.S. — a big improvement after weeks of stasis.

The big picture: More than half of American adults have gotten at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine, and that seems to finally be putting a dent in the size of the country’s outbreak.

By the numbers: The U.S. averaged about 55,000 new cases per day over the past week, down from about 66,000 per day the week before.

  • The number of new infections declined in 26 states and only rose in four.
  • New York and Michigan saw the biggest improvements; new cases were down by about 30% in both states.

What’s next: The U.S. will never totally eliminate COVID-19, but high vaccination rates and low case rates will help the country get back to normal more quickly, and will also help limit the threat that new variants of the virus will pose in the years to come.

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

Sep 17, 2021 - Health

CDC: Moderna vaccine most effective against hospitalization in U.S.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Overall healthy adults with the Moderna COVID vaccine had 93% vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization over five months compared to those with 88% protection with Pfizer and 71% from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new report out Friday from the CDC shows.

Why it matters: The report comes as the Food and Drug Administrations meets Friday to consider whether to endorse a contentious plan for booster shots among the fully vaccinated.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Sep 17, 2021 - Health

Key FDA committee takes on the big booster question

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A key FDA advisory committee is meeting today to discuss Pfizer's proposal for a COVID vaccine booster — but it will set the stage for the entire booster debate.

The big question: Not only whether experts believe there’s enough evidence to support boosters, but also whether they believe additional shots should be made available for everyone or limited to older Americans and the immunocompromised.

Sep 18, 2021 - Health

Most Kentucky school boards vote in favor of mask mandates

Photo: Paul Bersebach, MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

A majority of school boards in Kentucky voted in favor of mask mandates, according to the Kentucky School Board Association.

Why it matters: A week ago, Kentucky's Republican-dominated legislature voted to revoke a statewide mask mandate in public schools that was meant to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The decision on masks would instead be left up to individual districts.