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

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.

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Coronavirus cases flat or growing in 48 states

Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Naema Ahmed, Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of coronavirus cases increased in the vast majority of states over the last week, and decreased in only two states plus the District of Columbia.

Why it matters: This is a grim reminder that no part of the United States is safe from the virus. If states fail to contain their outbreaks, they could soon face exponential spread and overwhelmed health systems.

Case growth outpacing testing in coronavirus hotspots

Data: The COVID Tracking Project. Note: Vermont and Hawaii were not included because they have fewer than 20 cases per day. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The United States' alarming rise in coronavirus cases isn't due to increased testing — particularly not where cases have grown fastest over the last month.

Why it matters: The U.S. doesn't yet know what it looks like when a pandemic rages on relatively unchecked after the health system has become overwhelmed. It may be about to find out.

Jul 7, 2020 - Health

Texas reports more than 10,000 coronavirus cases

A person receiving a coronavirus test on July 7 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas reported a record 10,028 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, according to Texas Health and Human Services.

Why it matters: This is the first time the state reported more than 10,000 new cases in a single day since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.