The United States now leads the world in the number of confirmed cases of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus now devastating the globe.
Asfirst reportedby the New York Times, which has been keeping arunning tally, more than 80,000 people in the United States have tested positive for the virus, eclipsing the number of diagnoses in hard-hit China and Italy. Data maintained by Johns Hopkins University shows the number of coronavirus cases exceeding 83,000, as of Thursday evening.
The news comes on the heels of today’s reports of unsuccessful attempts by the Trump reelection campaign to bury Democratic ads including his claim, from a February 28campaign rally, that his mishandling of the covid-19 crisis was the Democrats’ “new hoax.” (The campaign’s cease-and-desist letters to television stationsargue that the adsmake it seem as though he was implying that covid-19itselfis a hoax; rather, the letter argues, he meant that his supposedsloppy disregard for the severity of the crisiswas a hoax. But who cares at this point? Today’s report proves that they are patently correct in the assertion that he has profoundly fucked up.) On the date of the rally, theCenters for Disease Control reported64 confirmed cases in the United States. On the same date, theNew York Times reportedmore than 79,000 cases in China. Currently, the Times reports that China has 81,285 cases.
Two days ago, thepresident saidthat he would love to “have the country opened up” by Easter, even as reports indicated that the U.S. coronavirus death toll was doubling in the United States at a rate ofevery three days, as opposed to Italy, which doubled at five, and as mainland China’s curve was flattening.
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Trumpcontinuesto eschew calls to enforce the wartimeDefense Production Act, which would give the federal government more power over the manufacture and supply of critical medical equipment like respirators, which he has left states to compete foron their own. And he sent a letter to governors on Thursday saying that his administration planned torelax federal guidelines on social distancing, the rare effort shown to curb community spread of the virus, far earlier than health experts advise.
Earlier this week, UN Secretary-General António Guterresreminded G20 leadersthat infections have accelerated at a breakneck speed:
It took the world three months to reach 100,000 confirmed cases of infection. The next 100,000 happened in just 12 days. The third took four days. The fourth, just one and a half. This is exponential growth and only the tip of the iceberg.
Both theNew York TimesandJohns Hopkins Universityhave reported approximately 1,200 deaths in the United States, about a third as many as in China, wher