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

Coronavirus cases are quickly spreading in Arizona, a handful of southern and western states and, ominously, Oklahoma — the planned site of President Trump's controversial rally this weekend.

Why it matters: Once community spread takes off, cases can begin to increase exponentially.

The big picture: “We’re at a point where there are warning signs going off, and people need to take steps to help control it," said Chris Meekins, a health policy research analyst at the investment bank Raymond James.

By the numbers: Oklahoma has seen a 91% jump in its coronavirus cases over the past week, and new cases are up 53% in Arizona.

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, new coronavirus cases are up 11% nationwide over the past week.

New cases alone don't measure the extent of a state's outbreak, but many of these same states also are in worsening shape according to other measures.

  • Arizona, South Carolina, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Florida have seen significant growth in the percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive over the last two weeks, according to Nephron Research, indicating that the case growth in these states isn't solely attributable to more testing.
  • Arizona, Texas, North Carolina and Alabama have also hit record hospitalizations in the last few days.
  • “For the first time, I would have to say, I’m growing worried about the system,” Donald Williamson, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, told the Alabama Political Reporter. He said that the Tuscaloosa area had only one ICU bed available Tuesday morning.

What we're watching: “Ultimately, the president doesn’t ask for permission before he” goes places, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt said yesterday, per Reuters. “So we found out that president was coming, so we are going to make sure it’s the best and as safe as possible.”

The bottom line: “People are going to want to react to really bad numbers," Harvard's Ashish Jha said. But "if you don’t slow the virus down, it'll keep going up, and exponential growth is a bad thing. Because it's building on itself.”

Go deeper

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated" — Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Teens and adults missed 37 million vaccinations during COVID — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 8 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 9 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.