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Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Several Southern states are seeing a rise in new coronavirus cases, moving them further away from an important target for safely reopening parts of their economies.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's reopening guidelines call for a consistent decline in new cases before proceeding with the process — and some states are proceeding even without clearing that threshold.

Between the lines: The total number of cases is an important piece of the puzzle — but it's only one piece.

  • The number of new cases will rise as a state performs more testing, so looking at this metric in isolation can give the false impression of a worsening outbreak.

Yes, but: Some of the states whose new cases are increasing in this analysis — including Arkansas, North Carolina and North Dakota — also fare poorly in a more holistic analysis that also accounts for other metrics.

Where it stands: South Dakota has made the most progress over the past week, cutting its new cases by over half.

  • North Carolina and North Dakota bring up the rear, with spikes in new cases of around 40%.

This analysis uses a seven-day average, to minimize the distortions of reporting delays or similar technical issues, and compares that average to the average from the week before.

  • We're using data from the COVID Tracking Project. Other sources, including the widely used Johns Hopkins database, show different results for some states, including Washington state.

The bottom line: No one measurement tells the whole story, and there are signs that most of the country is moving in the right direction.

  • But there's a big difference between moving in the right direction and being out of the woods, and there will be no victory over the coronavirus without a sustained, documented decline in the number of new cases.

Go deeper

Updated Oct 7, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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

New Zealand now has active no coronavirus cases in the community after the final six people linked to the Auckland cluster recovered, the country's Health Ministry confirmed in an email Wednesday.

The big picture: The country's second outbreak won't officially be declared closed until there have been "no new cases for two incubation periods," the ministry said. Auckland will join the rest of NZ in enjoying no domestic restrictions from late Wednesday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, declaring that NZ had "beat the virus again."

Updated Aug 29, 2020 - Health

University of Alabama reports 1,052 COVID-19 cases since in-person classes began

Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The University of Alabama on Friday reported an additional 485 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff since in-person classes resumed on Aug. 19, bringing the total number cases up to 1,052, according to the university's coronavirus dashboard.

Why it matters: The outbreak underscores concerns from public health experts that in-person classes could cause community spread within school populations. The total reported on Friday does not include the 381 positive tests caught when students, faculty and staff first re-entered campus.