NYT: The U.S. Now Has More Coronavirus Cases Than Any Other Nation In The World
Thursday marked the day that the United States became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, according to The New York Times, overtaking China, Italy and all other countries with at least 81,321 confirmed cases of the virus.
The Times noted that the U.S. is the third-most populous country in the world, “meaning it provides a vast pool of people who can potentially get Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.”
Making matters worse, as each state has charted its own path in response to the pandemic, President Donald Trump spent weeks sending mixed messages on the gravity of the threat while his administration bungled its response with several missteps.
“Among them,” The Times wrote, “a failure to take the pandemic seriously even as it engulfed China, a deeply flawed effort to provide broad testing for the virus that left the country blind to the extent of the crisis, and a dire shortage of masks and protective gear to protect doctors and nurses on the front lines, as well as ventilators to keep the critically ill alive.”
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York, told the newspaper that the outbreak “could have been stopped by implementing testing and surveillance much earlier — for example, when the first imported cases were identified,” adding: “If these are the cases we’ve confirmed, how many cases are we still missing?”
What can Americans do now?
“We are the new global epicenter of the disease,” Dr. Sara Keller, an infectious disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told The Times. “Now, all we can do is to slow the transmission as much as possible by hunkering down in our houses while, as a country, we ramp up production of personal protective equipment, materials needed for testing, and ventilators.”
However, the president is hoping to return to business as usual quickly and signaled to governors on Thursday that his coronavirus task force is looking at ways to safely reopen portions of the U.S. economy in the coming weeks.
Whether or how this can be done will rely heavily on data from testing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said this week — an element of the response that has been sorely lacking from the beginning but is starting to pick up speed.
"Today, the testing situation is infinitely better than what it was a few weeks ago. We now have hundreds of thousands of tests out there and in the next week or so we'll be having like a million a week," Fauci told NPR in an interview Thursday. "In the beginning, it was a slow start. But right now that the commercial firms have gotten involved we really have caught up and we will be seeing a much more improved system with regard to the availability and the implementation of testing.”