(Reuters) - Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases of COVID-19 for the week ended May 24, up from 13 states in the prior week, as the death toll from the novel coronavirus approaches 100,000, according to a Reuters analysis.
Alabama had the biggest weekly increase at 28%, Missouri’s new cases rose 27% and North Carolina’s rose 26%, according to the analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.
New cases in Georgia, one of the first states to reopen, rose 21% after two weeks of declines. The state attributed the increase to a backlog of test results and more testing.
(Open tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)
Nationally, new cases of COVID-19 fell 0.8% for the week ended May 24, compared with a decline of 8% in the prior week. All 50 states have now at least partially reopened, raising fears among some health officials of a second wave of outbreaks. The increase in cases could also be due to more testing.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended states wait for their daily number of new COVID-19 cases to fall for 14 days before easing social distancing restrictions.
GRAPHIC: Tracking the novel coronavirus in the U.S. - here
As of May 24, 15 states had met that criteria, up from 13 in the prior week, according to the Reuters analysis. Washington state, where the U.S. outbreak started, has the longest streak with cases falling for eight weeks in a row, followed by Hawaii at seven weeks and Pennsylvania and New York at six weeks.
Kentucky posted a nearly 30% drop in new cases and New York was down 23%, according to the Reuters analysis.
Texas saw new cases fall 15% after they rose 22% in the prior week.
GRAPHIC: World-focused tracker with country-by-country - here
Reporting by Chris Canipe in Kansas City, Missouri, and Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Tiffany Wu