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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

Coronavirus cases rise in 22 states

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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Note: Texas added a backlog of cases on Sept. 22, removing that from the 7-day average Texas' cases increased 28.3%; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The coronavirus is surging once again across the U.S., with cases rising in 22 states over the past week.

The big picture: There isn't one big event or sudden occurrence that explains this increase. We simply have never done a very good job containing the virus, despite losing 200,000 lives in just the past six months, and this is what that persistent failure looks like.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
12 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

Updated 19 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 980,000 worldwide on Thursday.

By the numbers: Globally, more than 32 million million people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Johns Hopkins data shows.

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