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

New Mexico and Oregon have seen particularly large increases in new coronavirus cases over the past week, while most of the country is headed in the right direction.

Why it matters: The White House’s reopening guidelines call for a steady two-week decline in the number of new cases, but in several states the outbreak continues to fluctuate from week to week.

Between the lines: Each week, Axios is documenting the change in new cases in each state. We use a seven-day average to minimize inconsistencies in when new cases are reported.

  • Overall, the number of new cases in the U.S. is steadily falling. That progress has been led consistently, week after week, by steady improvements in hard-hit areas including New York and Massachusetts.
  • The South has generally lagged, with several weeks of increasing caseloads. California has also been a persistent trouble spot.

This week, the number of new cases shot up by over 50% in four states — Arizona, Florida, New Mexico and Oregon.

  • Florida and Arizona, however, have also recorded enormous improvements in testing over the past week.
  • Florida, for example, saw a 65% increase in cases, but also a 65% increase in the number of tests performed — so that spike in confirmed cases is probably a reflection of more accurate data, rather than an outbreak that got 65% worse.
  • New Mexico and Oregon both saw increased caseloads that outpace their improvements in testing, suggesting that their outbreaks are in fact getting worse.

Yes, but: A situation like Florida’s, where new cases are largely tied to improved testing, is not a reason to breathe easy. Learning that your state's situation is worse than you realized is still a long way away from getting the outbreak under control.

  • Texas, another state that health experts have been paying particularly close attention to, reported a sharp increase in new cases last week and another 7% jump this week.
  • The number of people hospitalized with coronavirus infections in Texas has hit a record high.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas — Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. Economy: Report: World's 10 richest men doubled wealth during pandemicAmerica's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  7. Variant tracker

Rep. Brooks: We need to better prepare for pandemics

Axios' Margaret Talev (L) and Rep. Susan Brooks (R). Photo: Axios

Insufficient stockpiles and a lack of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic should serve as a warning for America on future preparedness, Rep. Susan Brooks (R-Ind.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "Congress had been beefing up for years — the appropriations for preparedness — it certainly was not enough, and we recognize that," Brooks said.

Sep 18, 2020 - Health

Rep. Khanna: COVID-19 could change the perception of public health care

Rep. Khanna and Axios' Margaret Talev

The universal experience of COVID-19 could change how opponents view Medicare for All, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said at an Axios virtual event on Friday.

What they're saying: "The pandemic has reminded us of our shared humanity with other American citizens. It's no longer possible to think, 'Oh, we're not part of those who get sick.' Now almost everyone knows, unfortunately, someone who has been hospitalized, someone who had a serious bout with COVID," Khanna said.