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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

Updated 21 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Australian officials in Victoria announced another 19 deaths from COVID-19 on Monday morning local time, breaking the state and national record set the previous day of 17. Victoria also reported 322 new cases — the lowest in 13 days.

The big picture: Australia was on track to suppress the virus in May, but cases have been spiking in Victoria in recent weeks, where a state of disaster was declared last week, enabling officials to introduce restrictions including a night-time curfew in state capital Melbourne.

22 hours ago - Health

New York reports new low positive coronavirus test rate

People physically distancing at tables in New York City's Times Square in June. Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Sunday 515 people, or 0.78% of those tested, returned a positive reading for COVID-19 the previous day.

Why it matters: It's the lowest single-day positive rate since the start of the pandemic. It's another sign that the state that was once a global coronavirus epicenter is curbing the spread of the virus. "Our daily numbers remain low and steady, despite increasing infection rates across the country, and even in our region," Cuomo said in a statement. "But we must not become complacent: Everyone should continue to wear their masks and socially distance."

18 hours ago - Health

97,000 children test positive for coronavirus in two weeks

A boy has his temperature checked as he receives a free COVID-19 test in South Los Angeles in July. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

At least 97,000 children tested positive for COVID-19 in the final two weeks of July and there's been an estimated 338,000 cases involving kids in the U.S. since the pandemic began, a new report finds.

Why it matters: The report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children's Hospital Association comes as schools and day cares look to reopen in the U.S.