The danger of a fourth wave

Where it stands: The U.S. averaged just under 65,000 new cases per day over the past week. That’s essentially unchanged from the week before, ending a six-week streak of double-digit improvements.

Although the U.S. has been moving in the right direction, 65,000 cases per day is not a number that indicates the virus is under control. It’s the same caseload the U.S. was seeing last July, at the height of the summer surge in cases and deaths.

What we’re watching: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday rescinded the state’s mask mandate and declared that businesses will be able to operate at full capacity, saying risk-mitigation measures are no longer necessary because of the progress on vaccines.

But the risk in Texas is far from over. In fact, its outbreak is growing: New cases in the state rose by 27% over the past week.