The US Is Now The Epicenter Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

No crowds in Times Square after self-quarantine and social distancing was put in place in New York City to slow the spread of the covid-19 pandemic. haeryung stock images/Shutterstock

The United States is now the country with the highest number of confirmed cases, the highest number of new daily cases, and, unfortunately, the highest number of people who have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. The data collected by the John Hopkins COVID-19 resource center paints a bleak picture for the North American country.

As of today, April 13, US cases number 558,999, or 30 percent of all global cases since the disease became known at the end of December 2019. The number of new cases in the US was 28,917 higher than the totality of Europe, which numbered 25,573 and had, since February, been the epicenter of the pandemic. Over 22,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the States so far, almost 6,900 of them in New York alone.

The state of New York has been particularly hard hit, with over 100,00 cases confirmed – more cases than any other country, except the US. It was reported last week that Hart Island, New York City's famous burial ground for people who died with no known next of kin, has had an increase in burials since March as the pandemic became increasingly more widespread.

The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation estimates that the peak in numbers of daily deaths is now behind the US as a whole country, although at state and county levels it might be still yet to come. These models estimate a total of 61,545 deaths by August of this year, but with large uncertainties, and a worst-case scenario pushing almost three times as much.

Despite a slow start to the response to the pandemic, rapid COVID-19 tests have been pushed through by the FDA, and testing numbers have risen. Forty states now have stay-at-home orders in operation, though some are remaining defiant – you can see which here

It is important to continue to practice physical distancing, avoiding going out when possible, and washing your hands frequently to minimize the spread of the disease. Curbing the spread without a vaccine is virtually impossible (luckily many are in the works, though it may be some time before they are available), so the goal is to "flatten the curve", which means slowing the spread down and avoiding a high number of cases in one go to lessen the strain on health services so they don't become overwhelmed.  

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