Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections fell by almost 13% over the past week — a significant improvement.

Why it matters: Things are moving in the right direction again after a brief plateau, and getting the virus under control now will give the U.S. a much better shot at a safe autumn.

By the numbers: The U.S. is now averaging about 37,000 new cases every day. That’s a lot, and we’re not even halfway back to the lower totals we were recording before cases surged this summer. But the U.S. has been recording steady progress since August.

Yes, but: A handful of isolated events, including the Sturgis motorcycle rally and some particularly bad college re-openings, caused that progress to flatline last week.

  • It’s good that we’re back on track, but the pause was a reminder of just how easy it is for the virus to come roaring back when public health measures lapse.

Where it stands: The number of new infections fell last week in 18 states, including the big summer hotspots as well as some of the states that saw the biggest spikes last week.

  • The U.S. averaged roughly 710,000 coronavirus tests per day over the past week, a drop of about 3% from the week before.
  • The fact that the decline in cases was bigger than the decline in tests makes it more likely that cases are actually going down, not just that we're not finding as many.

Details: Each week, Axios tracks the change in new infections in each state, compared to the week before. We use a seven-day average to minimize the effects of one-off quirks in states’ reporting.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
16 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.

15 hours ago - Health

Young people accounted for 20% of coronavirus cases this summer

Hundreds of beachgoers pack in without social distancing in July. Photo: Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

People in their 20s accounted for more than 20% of all COVID-19 cases between June and August, analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows, bringing the median age of coronavirus patients to 37, down from 46 in the spring.

Why it matters: Young people are less vulnerable to serious illness, but they contributed to community spread over the summer, the analysis says — meaning they likely infected older, higher-risk people, especially in the South.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) and his wife, Pamela, both tested positive for coronavirus, his office announced on Friday.

The state of play: The Northams were tested after one of their staff "who works closely within the couple's living quarters" tested positive. The governor is asymptomatic, while his wife is "experiencing mild symptoms." They plan to isolate at home for 10 days.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!