The coronavirus pandemic hit a grim milestone Sunday morning, reaching 10 million confirmed cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker, with the U.S. accounting for 25% of those cases—and no slowdown of infections in sight.
A man wearing a mask walks past a banner reminding people of social distancing guidelines on Santa … [+]
Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images
The tracker on Sunday hit 10,005,970 confirmed Covid-19 cases worldwide, and is approaching 500,000 deaths.
The U.S. accounts for over 2.5 million of those cases and over 125,000 deaths, which means the nation makes up 25% of both of those numbers.
The milestone comes amid rapidly spiking cases in Arizona, Florida, Texas and California, states that mostly account for the recent rise in U.S. cases.
Over 40,000 coronavirus cases were reported each on Friday and Saturday in the U.S., while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed Thursday that 10 times more people have Covid-19 antibodies than are being diagnosed—meaning that for every reported case, there may have been 10 additional infections.
One result of the rapid case increase: Vice President Mike Pence canceled planned visits to Arizona and Florida to campaign for President Trump’s reelection.
Another result: nine states, including Florida and Texas, are pulling back on reopenings, ranging from reclosing bars to delaying gyms, movie theaters and malls from welcoming patrons.
“We are facing a serious problem,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, on Saturday at the group’s first press briefing in two months. “You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility because if we want to end this outbreak, really end it… we’ve got to realize that we are part of the process.”
Over 125. That’s how many coronavirus vaccines are in development, according to a tracker maintained by the New York Times.
The coronavirus was first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Since then, it has spread worldwide, affecting every continent except Antarctica. In addition to the U.S., countries like Brazil, Russia, India and the U.K. have seen soaring case loads. Some countries have struggled to maintain enough hospital beds, protective gear and medical equipment, such as ventilators, to keep up with the number of patients arriving through their doors. No treatment or vaccine exists for Covid-19, although some evidence suggests the antiviral remdesivir shortens recovery time for seriously ill patients. Scientists are mostly optimistic that a vaccine could be found by 2021, and the Trump administration has funded a project called Operation Warp Speed to speed up the process, which typically takes 10 to 15 years.
What to watch for
The Trump administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to scrap the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature healthcare legislation (and referred to as Obamacare). In their brief, the Trump administration argued that Obamacare is unconstitutional after the court in 2017 scrapped the individual mandate, while requiring that all Americans have access to the healthcare exchange. The court is likely to hear oral arguments around November, when voters go to the polls for the presidential election. If the court accepts the Trump administration’s challenge, 23 million Americans could lose their health insurance during the coronavirus public health crisis.
Coronavirus Cases Pass 10 Million Globally (Wall Street Journal)