The coronavirus (COVID-19) disease pandemic continues to spread around the world, with 244,523 total cases and 10,030 total deaths as of March 20, 2020. Although the United States reported few cases in January and February, the number of cases rose dramatically after the first week of March. As of March 19, 2020, there had been 10,442 cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 150 deaths. Every U.S. state has now reported cases with Washington, New York, and California the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Testing for the virus in the United States was slow to implement as the original testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were found to be defective. As of March 14, all 50 states were able to test for the disease, but the number of test kits available are still very limited. This has made it difficult to accurately estimate the true number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States. The latest figures from the CDC report there have been 10,442 cases in the U.S., however 9,842 of these cases are still under investigation. The overall government response has also been criticized with many pointing to contradictory statements from the White House on the seriousness of the outbreak and the general unpreparedness of the U.S., despite earlier warnings that the U.S. was ill-equipped to handle such a scenario.
However, the United States government and many states have now begun to take drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus. For example, starting on March 13, all foreign nationals from the European Union’s Schengen area are forbidden from entering the United States for 30 days. Major public events have also been cancelled, film releases postponed, and several sports leagues, including the NBA and NHL, have suspended their seasons. On a state level, some states have begun ordering the closure of bars and restaurants, banning public gatherings, and closing schools. While such measures may seem extreme, a surprisingly high percentage of U.S. adults supported placing a quarantine on a major city if COVID-19 were detected there, and a majority of adults had already stated at the beginning of March that they would be less likely to go to events such as a concert, the movie theater, or a sporting event, if the coronavirus were to spread to their community.