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Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Editor's note: This graphic was corrected to reflect Pennsylvania's cases increased 5% (not 32%); Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise, Danielle Alberti/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic is getting dramatically worse in almost every corner of the U.S.

The big picture: The U.S. today is getting closer to the worst-case scenario envisioned in the spring — a nationwide crisis, made worse by a vacuum of political leadership, threatening to overwhelm hospitals and spread out of control.

  • Nationwide, cases are up 30% compared to the beginning of this month, and dramatically worsening outbreaks in several states are beginning to strain hospital capacity — the same concern that prompted the nationwide lockdown in the first place.
  • This is the grimmest map in the eight weeks since Axios began tracking the change in new cases in every state.

By the numbers: Over half the country — 26 states — have seen their coronavirus caseloads increase over the past week.

  • New cases are up 77% in Arizona, 75% in Michigan, 70% in Texas and 66% in Florida.
  • California, which has seen steady increases for weeks, recorded a 47% jump in new infections over the past week.
  • These steep increases come after weeks of steadily climbing cases or back-and-forth results across the South, Midwest and West Coast. Only the New York region and parts of New England — the earliest hotspots — have consistently managed to get their caseloads down throughout May and June.

Increased testing does not explain away these numbers. Other data points make clear that we’re seeing a worsening outbreak, not simply getting better data.

  • Seven states, including Arizona, have set records for the number of people hospitalized with coronavirus, and the percentage of all tests that come back positive is also increasing.
  • The whole point of the national lockdown was to buy time to improve testing and give infection levels a chance to level off without overwhelming hospitals. That worked in New York, but as other parts of the country begin to see their outbreaks intensify later, the same risks are back at the forefront.

Between the lines: Axios uses a rolling seven-day average to minimize the effects of any abnormalities in how and when new cases are reported.

What’s next: Younger people are making up a greater share of all cases, and tend to be less susceptible to serious injury or death, so hopefully this spike in new cases won’t be followed by an equivalent spike in deaths.

  • But it’s too early to say that for sure.

Editor's note: This graphic was corrected to reflect Pennsylvania's cases increased 5% (not 32%).

Go deeper

Sep 21, 2020 - Health

U.K. upgrades COVID alert level as Europe sees worrying rise in infections

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves Downing Street on Sept. 21. Photo: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The U.K. could see up to 50,000 coronavirus cases per day by mid-October if current growth continues, top scientific advisers warned in a televised address from Downing Street on Monday.

The big picture: The U.K. has upgraded its coronavirus alert level from three to four as infections appear to be "high or rising exponentially." Meanwhile, recent European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) data shows that over half of all European Union countries are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases.

Updated 25 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

The weekly number of new global coronavirus cases reported last week reached its highest level yet, the World Health Organization said.

The big picture: From September 14-20, there were nearly 2 million new cases, a 6% increase compared to the previous week, the WHO said.

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 31,605,656 — Total deaths: 970,934 Total recoveries: 21,747,491Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 6,897,432 — Total deaths: 200,814 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: The U.S. reaches 200,000 coronavirus deaths — The CDC's crumbling reputation — America turns against coronavirus vaccine.
  4. Politics: Elected officials are failing us on much-needed stimulus.
  5. Business: Two-thirds of business leaders think pandemic will lead to permanent changes — Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus.
  6. Sports: NFL fines maskless coaches.

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