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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.

In photos: Twin Cities on edge after Daunte Wright shooting

Demonstrators shout "Don't shoot" at the police after curfew on April 12 as they protest the death of Daunte Wright, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, a day earlier. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

There were tense scenes in the Twin Cities suburb of Brooklyn Center Monday night, after demonstrators defied a 7 p.m. curfew to protest for a second night the fatal police shooting of Daunte Wright.

The big picture: The curfew was announced following a night of protests and unrest over the killing of Wright, 20, during a traffic stop Sunday. Following peaceful protests and a daytime vigil, police again deployed tear gas during clashes with protesters Monday night, according to reporters on the scene.

In photos: Life along the U.S.-Mexico border

Children at the border of the Puerto de Anapra colonia of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, hang on a border fence and look to Sunland Park, N.M. Photo: Russell Contreras/Axios

Axios traveled to McAllen and El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to see how the communities are responding to an increase of migrants from Central America.

Of note: The region in South and West Texas are among the poorest in the nation and rarely are the regions covered in depth beyond the soundbites and press conference. Axios reporters Stef Kight and Russell Contreras walked the streets of McAllen, El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez to record images that struck them.