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Data: COVID Tracking Project, Harvard Global Health Institute; Note: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee and Puerto Rico have not reported hospitalizations consistently. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, particularly in New York and other northeastern states that were among the hardest hit by the virus.

Yes, but: Some states are still recording stagnant or rising amounts of hospitalizations.

By the numbers: Roughly 34,000 people diagnosed or being evaluated for COVID-19 were in the hospital at the beginning of June — down from 40,000 in the middle of May, according to state data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project.

  • Seven states — Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and Tennessee — still don't report the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Between the lines: Hospitalizations help show where coronavirus outbreaks have been severe, but they are a lagging indicator of an area's actual infection rate and could underestimate the spread if people die in their homes or before making it to the hospital.

The good news: Hospitalizations have steadily decreased in the biggest coronavirus hotspots: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois and Louisiana.

The bad news: Plenty of states — including Washington, Arizona, North Carolina and Arkansas — still are reporting upticks in the number of hospital beds filled by seriously ill people.

The bottom line: Public health experts are worried that states reopening businesses and people easing up on social distancing guidelines — now paired with nationwide protests over racism and police brutality — will make it harder to temper the outbreak.

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