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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 23, 2021 - Health

Howard Zucker resigns as New York health commissioner

Howard Zucker, commissioner of the New York State Department of Health, speaks during a news conference. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New York State health commissioner Howard Zucker resigned on Thursday following pressure for his role in withholding nursing home COVID-19 death numbers under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Why it matters: Zucker led New York's response to COVID-19 last year but came under fire for reportedly undercounting the death toll in nursing homes by as much as 50%.

Sep 23, 2021 - Health

CDC director approves Pfizer boosters, adds eligibility for high-risk workers

Photo: Marco Bello/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A key panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday recommended the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus booster shots for people 65 years old and older, as well as those at high risk of severe COVID-19.

Driving the news: But in an unusual move, CDC director Rochelle Walensky late Thursday overruled part of the advisory committee's decision and said that workers in high-risk jobs should also be eligible for booster shots.

Sep 23, 2021 - World

Bolsonaro isolating after health minister tests positive for COVID at UN summit

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. Photo: Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro and members of his delegation that were in New York for the UN General Assembly were put in isolation after the country's health minister tested positive for coronavirus, according to the state health regulator.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro, who tested positive for COVID-19 back in July and has regularly railed against pandemic measures, has not been vaccinated against the virus.