A healthcare worker collects samples using a nasal swab at a mobile COVID-19 testing facility, in Miami Beach, Florida, United States on July 24, 2020.
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Coronavirus outbreaks in Arizona, Florida and Texas appear to be slowing down as more people practice social distancing and states halt reopening plans.
On Sunday, Arizona reported a 13% drop in the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases, logging 2,627 newly diagnosed cases over the previous 24 hours, down from 3,022 the previous week, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
The state has also begun to see signs that its Covid-19 hospitalizations may be slowing down, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer group founded by journalists from The Atlantic magazine. As of Sunday, coronavirus hospitalizations also fell by about 14% from the previous week to a seven-day average of 2,919.
Cases in Texas have fallen almost 19% over the previous week, hitting roughly 8,404 daily new cases based on a seven-day moving average on Sunday, according to the CNBC analysis. Its peak in average daily new cases was 10,572 on July 20. CNBC uses a seven-day average to calculate Covid-19 trends because it smooths out inconsistencies and gaps in state data.
Although Texas is showing signs that its number of new infections is starting to slow, it hit a record high in average hospitalizations of 10,840 Covid-19 patients on Sunday. The same day, the state also broke a grim record of average daily new deaths of 152.
Florida has just begun seeing its curve start to flatten since reaching a record-high average of daily new cases of 11,870 on July 17, according to data from Johns Hopkins. On Sunday, the state had 10,544 average new cases, which is an 8% decrease compared with a week ago.
However, the state is still reporting growth in hospitalizations and fatalities as the virus continues to hit densely populated cities in southern Florida.
U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said Monday that officials are starting to see a leveling-off of cases in hard-hit states due to people “stepping up to the plate.”
“It’s due to the fact that people are actually wearing masks. They’re wearing their masks. They’re social distancing. They’re engaging in good personal hygiene,” Azar said on “Fox and Friends.”
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, also said Monday that hot-spot states in the Sunbelt region of the U.S. are starting to plateau in the number of new Covid-19 cases.
“On the whole, it looks like Arizona, Texas and probably Florida at the very least are starting to hit a plateau,” he said on “Squawk Box.” “Arizona looks like they’re starting to come down the epidemic curve slowly. I think these are going to be extended plateaus. I think we’re going to hang out at the level of infection that we’re at right now.”
However, Gottlieb cautioned that “even as these states come down, other states look like they are heating up, and so they’ll start to offset the gains we are making in the Sunbelt.”
For the first time since June 12, the rate of growth in average daily new Covid-19 cases fell across the U.S. on Sunday compared with a week ago. Nationally, there were an average of 65,809 daily new cases on Sunday, a 1.6% decrease from the previous week, based on a seven-day moving average.
While the number of new coronavirus cases across the U.S. has been on the decline for the past few days, it does not paint an accurate picture of the rate of infection. Weekend reporting from states tends to be delayed as some counties only release their numbers on weekdays.
Gottlieb also said that some states have not been reporting their numbers reliably since the Department of Health and Human Services instructed all hospitals to stop reporting their data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s long-standing National Healthcare Safety Network. Instead, hospitals now have to report to HHS through a new portal that went live a week ago.
Disclosure: Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC contributor and a member of the boards of Pfizer, genetic-testing start-up Tempus and biotech company Illumina.