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

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are beginning to decline, after a summer of sharp increases, and some of the hardest-hit states are improving significantly.

Yes, but: We're at the stage of this most recent outbreak in which deaths begin to spike. They're closing in on 150,000 and still rising.

Between the lines: Each week, Axios maps the change in new infections compared to the week before, using a seven-day average to minimize distortions.

By the numbers: This week, the U.S. overall saw a 2.8% drop in new infections — within the range we classify as "holding steady."

  • An average of 64,448 people were officially diagnosed with COVID-19 infections every day last week.

Two of the worst hotspots in the country, Arizona and Texas, experienced more significant declines in their caseloads: 16% and 21%, respectively.

  • Arizona has been getting better for a few weeks now, and though Texas still has a long way to go to make up for the spikes it saw in June and early July, it may be beginning to turn things around.
  • But California and Florida — the other major summer hotspots — have shown little improvement after weeks of deterioration.

What's next: With deaths still on the rise, cases holding steady at close to 65,000 per day and testing unable to keep up with demand, the U.S. is still in a bad place, and still lacks a coherent strategy to contain the virus.

  • But, for now at least, the virus' spread is holding steady overall, rather than continuing to accelerate.

Go deeper

Nov 7, 2020 - Health

Defense Department sends medical teams to El Paso as COVID-19 cases surge

An attendant talks to a person waiting in their car at a coronavirus testing site at Ascarate Park in El Paso. Photo:Cengiz Yar/Getty Images)

The Department of Defense has deployed three U.S Air force Medical Specialty Teams to El Paso to help officials cope with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced Friday.

Why it matters: El Paso currently has 23,702 active COVID-19 cases, including 1,300 new cases reported on Friday, per the city's health department. At least 1,049 coronavirus patients have been hospitalized, including 311 who are in the ICU.

The consumer's massive "war chest"

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Economists expect the pace of economic growth to cool off now that government transfer payments like stimulus checks and emergency unemployment benefits are in the rearview mirror. But evidence suggests that the U.S. consumer is sitting on a lot of financial firepower that could be a key driver of growth in the quarters to come.

Why it matters: U.S. consumer spending is massive, representing about 70% of GDP.

The Fed takes on its own rules amid stock trading controversy

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

New disclosures that showed Fed officials were active in financial markets set off a firestorm of criticism. Now the Fed may overhaul the long-standing rules that allow those transactions.

Why it matters: What officials actively traded was sensitive to the Fed decisions they helped shape, including the unprecedented support that underpinned a massive financial market boom.