(AP) — Experts in all corners of Missouri are seeing room for optimism in the fight against the coronavirus thanks to a decline in new cases, decreasing hospitalizations and other factors. Evidence suggests that the post-holiday spike is over, and things are improving. The seven-day average for new cases reported Tuesday was 27.2% lower than the previous seven-day average, according to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Hospitalizations remain high, but are declining. Dr. Alex Garza of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force says there are plenty “signs of hope” given the improvement at a time of year when illnesses tend to run high.