Texas, Arizona and Oregon saw significant spikes last week in new coronavirus infections, while cases also continued to climb in a handful of states where steady increases have become the norm.
Why it matters: Nationwide, new cases have plateaued over the past week. To get through this crisis and safely continue getting back out into the world, we need them to go down — a lot.
Between the lines: Improved testing can cause the number of confirmed cases in a particular state to rise, even if that state's outbreak isn't getting that much worse.
- At least in Texas, however, the spike in recorded cases does seem to reflect an actual increase in new infections — not just better testing.
- Testing in Texas increased by 36% over the past week, while the number of confirmed infections rose by 51%.
- Texas also saw an increase in the percentage of all coronavirus tests that came back positive. In a state where testing is improving and the underlying outbreak isn't getting worse, you'd expect the share of positive tests to go down.
The big picture: Axios is tracking each state's caseload week by week, using a seven-day average. The disparities between states, and these sudden spikes in places that had been making progress, underline just how tentative the U.S.' progress against the virus has been.