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Expand chart
Data: New York Times; Cartogram: Will Chase and Kavya Beheraj/Axios

New COVID-19 infections fell by about 20% nationwide over the past two weeks, though parts of the West and Midwest are seeing their caseloads tick higher.

By the numbers: The U.S. is now averaging about 70,000 new cases and 1,400 deaths per day.

  • Alaska still has the biggest outbreak in the country, relative to its population, with an average of 82 new cases per 100,000 residents. Alaska has led the nation in cases per capita for several weeks, though it's improving significantly.
  • Colorado, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wyoming are all averaging at least 50 daily cases per 100,000 people.
  • Several former hotspots now have the lowest rates of new infection in the country. Six states — Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana and Mississippi — are all averaging 10 or fewer daily cases per 100,000 people.

What we're watching: The authorization of vaccines for kids will help boost the country’s overall vaccination rates, at least a little — and more vaccinations should in turn help avoid another wave of severe illness and death like we saw last winter.

Go deeper

Updated 18 hours ago - Health

Europe, Asia tighten borders in fear of new COVID variant

Passengers stand at the check-in at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa via Getty Images

Countries across Europe and Asia are rushing through new travel restrictions in response to a new COVID variant identified by scientists in South Africa.

The big picture: Israel, Japan, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Singapore are moving to restrict entry from countries in the south of Africa, AP reports. Many are also adding quarantines for their own citizens upon return from the region.

17 hours ago - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

20 hours ago - Health

Updated data shows Merck antiviral COVID pill less effective

Photo: Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Merck said Friday updated data from a study on its experimental COVID-19 pill showed the drug is less effective than initially reported.

Driving the news: The drugmaker said molnupiravir reduced the risk of hospitalization or death for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19 by about 30%, based on a study of more than 1,400 adults. Last month, the company said the study showed about 50% efficacy, based on data from 775 patients.