The spread of COVID-19 appears to be headed up as fall 2020 debuts today.

The New York Times reports that there was an average of more than 41,000 new confirmed COVID-19 cases per day during the past week. That was a 7 percent increase from the 36,000 daily average reported a week ago.

The Times also notes that new cases have increased 15 percent over the past 10 years, the largest jump since spring.

Reuters reports that there were 287,000 new COVID-19 cases for the week that ended September 20. That was an increase of 17 percent from the previous week.

It’s the first increase after eight consecutive weeks of decline.

One of the big concerns is colleges. New COVID-19 cases have now been reported on college campuses in all 50 states.

Concerns were also heightened by a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) two weeks ago that concluded that people who test positive for COVID-19 are twice as likely to have eaten at a restaurant in the previous 2 weeks.

Overall, the United States now has more than 6.8 million confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

Hospitalizations stand at more than 25,000, which is significantly below the 50,000-plus numbers posted in late July.

COVID-19 related deaths have now topped 200,000.

That number places the viral illness as the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, trailing behind only heart disease and cancer.

The New York Times reports that deaths averaged 850 per day the past week, an increase from recent weeks.

Reuters reports that deaths rose 5 percent this past week to 5,400. It’s the first increase after four weeks of decline.

A daily tracking graph from the New York Times shows 17 states where “new cases are higher and staying high.” That was up from 9 states last week.

It lists 3 states where cases are higher but going down. It reports that there are 9 states where new cases are lower but going up.

It also notes there are 21 states where cases are lower and staying low.

A weekly tracking graph by Reuters that was updated on Monday listed 41 states where COVID-19 case numbers ticked upward the previous week.

That was up from the 17 states reporting increases a week ago.

The news service reports there was an average of 812,000 people tested for COVID-19 per day the previous week. That was a significant increase from the previous week. The nation set a record on Saturday by testing 1 million people.

The rate of positive test results fell to 5 percent this past week, the seventh straight week of decline. It reached a high of 9 percent in mid-July.

However, 26 states had rates above 5 percent, the level the World Health Organization considers “concerning.”

Idaho, Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota had the highest positivity rates at 16 percent.

Where cases are the highest

In terms of percentage, Arizona showed the largest increase among states in new confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to the Reuters graph.

Arizona reported 5,506 new positive tests this past week, a hike of 100 percent from the previous week.

Utah was second with 5,870 new cases this past week, an increase of 81 percent.

There are concerns about the continued increase of cases in some Midwestern states. Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, and North Dakota all reported increases in cases.

South Dakota did report an increase of 34 percent in new cases this past week.

Some of the spike has been linked to a large annual motorcycle rally held in Sturgis in mid-August.

State officials have said there were nearly 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 11 states tied to that rally. That includes the death of a man in his 60s who was among the 400,000 people who attended the event.

Maine’s new cases increased by 19 percent to 216 new cases after several weeks of increases, according to Reuters.

Part of the spike is due to a wedding reception held on August 7 in the small town of Millinocket.

Officials report at least 270 cases linked to the event. There are also eight deaths connected to the wedding. None of the people who died actually attended the wedding.

In terms of sheer numbers, Texas, California, and Florida are still leading the way in new COVID-19 cases.

Texas reported 31,058 new cases, a increase of 25 percent, according to Reuters.

California was second with 24,931 new cases. That was a hike of 8 percent from the previous week.

Florida was third with 19,760 new cases, an increase of 12 percent.

Illinois had the fourth highest number of new cases with 12,990, an increase of 8 percent.

Georgia was fifth with 11,841 new positive tests, a declined of 6 percent.

Hospitalizations declining

The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations are on the decline but still remain high.

On Wednesday, Texas was listed as having 3,132 people hospitalized with COVID-19, a decline from the high of 10,893 reported in late July.

California has the next highest hospitalizations with 2,573 patients, a decline from where it was a week ago.

Florida is third with 2,292 people hospitalized with COVID-19, less than the numbers reported last week.

Georgia has the fourth highest number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients with 1,424, also less than last week.

The death toll

The New York Times lists 12 states where COVID-19 related deaths have risen the past 2 weeks.

The Reuters graph lists 23 states where deaths had increased the previous week.

Virginia had the highest percentage increase among states at 532 percent with 291 new deaths.

Kansas was second with an 183 percent increase with 85 deaths.

Arkansas recorded 200 deaths last week, an increase of 130 percent, while West Virginia reported 44 deaths, a jump of 120percent.

In terms of sheer numbers, Florida recorded the most deaths with 695 this past week, a decrease of 9 percent from the previous week.

Texas was second with 687 fatalities this past week, a decrease of 8 percent.

California was third with 632 deaths, a decrease of nearly 4 percent.

Georgia reported 269 deaths, a decrease of 9 percent.