U.S. President Donald Trump pauses while speaking during a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in … [+]
Topline: The U.S. surpassed both China and Italy for the greatest number of current confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday according to The New York Times, which is tracking reported cases and deaths.
- On Thursday, the number of cases in the U.S. was 81,578, The New York Times reported.
- The U.S. official reported number of cases has skyrocketed since last week, when more coronavirus tests were made more easily available for the public.
- For China, where the virus is believed to have originated, The New York Times listed 81,285 coronavirus cases— although the reliability of China’s self-reported death toll has been questioned.
- Italy now has 80,539 cases; for much of the pandemic, it was the area hit the hardest besides China and has been under a strict lockdown for more than two weeks in hopes of preventing further spread.
- President Trump said the high numbers in the U.S. were “a tribute to the testing” the U.S. is doing.
- Despite its rapid spread of the coronavirus, the U.S. has seen substantially fewer deaths than other countries with similar infection numbers; while the U.S.,China and Italy hover at about 80,000 confirmed cases, the U.S. has only counted 1,000 deaths compared to China’s 3,287 and Italy’s 8,165.
Key background: The global coronavirus case count passed half a million Thursday afternoon, marking a watershed moment in the pandemic. The milestone shows the rapid spread of the virus around the world: this time last month, there were only 82,700 confirmed global cases— and a month before that, just under 3,000 people had tested positive.
What to watch for: Cases in the U.S. will continue to rise as coronavirus tests become more accessible. While New York is the eye of the storm now, recent infection rates point to New Orleans as being the next nationwide epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.