COVID cases are up in the U.S. again

New cases of COVID-19 are up again in a majority of U.S. states.

That's according to a Reuters analysis that found COVID cases in the United States rose 5% to more than 394,000 last week.

It's the first increase after declining numbers for nine straight weeks.

Thirty out of 50 states reported more new infections in the week ending March 21st compared with the previous seven days, up from 19 states in the prior week.

The CDC's Dr. Rochelle Walensky has warned that infections could surge again if Americans relaxed social distancing restrictions too quickly, with more infectious variants spreading across the country.

"Believe me. I get it. We all want to return to our everyday activities and spend time with our family, friends and loved ones, but we must find the fortitude to hang in there for just a little bit longer... I am worried that if we don't take the right actions now, we will have another avoidable surge, just as we are seeing in Europe right now."

The Northeast logged some of the highest rates of infection per capita, led by New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island.

Deaths from COVID, however, fell 15% by about 1,100 per day.

So too did the average number of COVID patients in hospitals, which was down by 6% - the lowest since October.

Health officials hope the country's vaccination effort can prevent a rise in deaths even if cases surge again.