The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.
Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely and right now, that includes the entire U.S.
By the numbers: On average, roughly 170,000 people per day were diagnosed with coronavirus infections over the past week.
- Thats a new record, a 9.7% increase over last week, and the 11th straight week that the U.S. has been heading in the wrong direction.
- The number of new daily cases increased in 28 states.
- Testing was up significantly by about 16% over the past week, potentially driven by pre-Thanksgiving precautions. The U.S. is now conducting nearly 1.8 million COVID-19 tests per day.
Between the lines: The U.S. outbreak is worse than it might look on this map.
- Our map is a snapshot of change over the past week, and a handful of states are doing better this week than they did last week. But they are, for the most part, states that have seen astronomical increases throughout the fall.
- Iowa, for example, is now averaging about 2,800 new infections per day. Thats an 18% improvement over last week, but its still about 250% higher than where Iowa stood at the beginning of October and leaves the state with far too many cases.
- Hospitals remain overwhelmed in some parts of the country, especially in rural areas.
Whats next: Infections and hospitalizations are already skyrocketing nationwide, and experts fear that the Thanksgiving holiday could give it even more fuel as people travel and gather indoors.
- It can take a while for waves of new cases to show up in the data, because most people dont experience symptoms right away.
- The holiday will probably lead to some additional reporting delays and other data quirks over the next few weeks, as the COVID Tracking Project notes. If there is a Thanksgiving-driven surge in new cases, it may not show up in these statistics until mid-December.
The bottom line: Cases are still rising nationally and are still at crisis levels in several hard-hit states. Cases and hospitalizations are both at record highs. This is going to be a long, dark winter.
Each week, Axios tracks the change in new infections in each state. We use a seven-day average to minimize the effects of day-to-day discrepancies in states reporting.