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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Overall, new coronavirus infections in the U.S. are on the decline. But a small handful of states, mainly clustered in the South, aren't seeing any improvement.

The big picture: Our progress, nationwide, is of course good news. But it's fragile progress, and it’s not universal. Stubborn pockets of infection put lives at risk, and they can spread, especially as state lockdowns continue to ease.

Where it stands: Each week, Axios is tracking the change in confirmed coronavirus infections in every state.

  • We’re using a seven-day average, to minimize the distortions of reporting delays or similar technical issues.

Ten states have not seen a single week of significant improvement — their caseloads have either gotten worse or have held steady all month.

  • Most of them are in the South: Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
  • But a handful of other, more populous states —California, Minnesota and Wisconsin — also stand out for their consistently lagging progress. Maine and Utah also have not reported a single week of significant improvement.
  • Neither has Puerto Rico.

Between the lines: The number of total cases is a flawed but important metric.

  • The number of confirmed cases will go up as testing improves, so spikes in some areas may simply reflect a more accurate handle on the situation, and not a situation that’s getting worse.
  • Even so, to get this pandemic under control and safely continue getting back out into the world, we still need the total number of new cases to decline.

The other side: The areas making the most progress — those reporting the biggest, steadiest declines in new cases — are, for the most part, the places that had it worse to begin with.

  • New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts— all one-time hotspots — have reported fewer cases every week.
  • A handful of other states, including Colorado and Pennsylvania, have either gotten better or held steady each week.

What we’re watching: This analysis is a snapshot. Any number of states have seen their case numbers yo-yo — up one week and down the next, or vice versa.

  • Every reduction in new cases is a good sign, and there are a lot of those good signs, but we’re still not quite to the point of a sustained, across-the-board improvement.

Go deeper

Updated Jul 8, 2020 - Health

N.Y., N.J. and CT to require travelers from 19 states to quarantine

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Visitors from Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma will now be required to quarantine for 14 days when traveling to New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, bringing the total number of states subject to the tri-state area's restrictions to 19.

Why it matters: The tri-state area, the original hub of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., has successfully flattened its curve and is beginning to reopen. Officials fear, however, that the surge of cases in others states across the country will erase New York and its neighboring states' progress.

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 12,739,269 — Total deaths: 565,704 — Total recoveries — 7,021,460Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 3,247,782 — Total deaths: 134,815 — Total recoveries: 995,576 — Total tested: 39,553,395Map.
  3. Politics: Trump wears face mask in public for first time.
  4. Public health: Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  5. States: Louisiana governor issues face mask mandate.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.

Biden's doctrine: Erase Trump, re-embrace the world

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto, and Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Foreign policy will look drastically different if Joe Biden defeats President Trump in November, advisers tell Axios — starting with a Day One announcement that the U.S. is re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement and new global coordination of the coronavirus response.

The big picture: If Trump's presidency started the "America First" era of withdrawal from global alliances, Biden's team says his presidency would be the opposite: a re-engagement with the world and an effort to rebuild those alliances — fast.