Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have accelerated so fast – jumping by 18,000 cases on Thursday – the nation has overtaken China to officially become the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The U.S. currently has 85,991 confirmed cases, according to John Hopkins University data. And the numbers are rising at more than 15,000 per day. Meanwhile, China’s cases have slowed to less than 100 daily.
Reports from behind the scenes at New York’s major hospitals are concerning. One doctor, filming for the New York Times, said they were already at breaking point, storing dead bodies in a truck.
Today is kind of getting worse and worse. Today we had to get a refrigerated truck to store the bodies of patients who are dying. We are right now scrambling to try to get a few additional ventilators.
New York has emerged as the epicenter of America’s outbreak with nearly 40,000 confirmed cases in NYC alone. And medics are dying as they treat patients with insufficient protective clothing.
Earlier this week, the World Health Organization warned that America may soon become the focus of this global outbreak.
We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So, it does have the potential [to become the global epicenter] – WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris.
It happened perhaps sooner than she was expecting. In just a few short days since that statement, we’ve seen cases rise by tens of thousands. Although the government has been accused of acting too slow, we are now seeing mass testing and containment measures across the country.
While Trump aims to have the economy ‘raring to go’ and churches packed by Easter Sunday, the reality is quite different. Dr. Craig Spencer at New York Presbyterian hospital said there’s a long, painful journey ahead.
We’re really at the beginning of this outbreak … And you can feel that. You can sense that. It’s palpable on the front lines in the emergency department.
His comments align with New York governor Andrew Cuomo who said yesterday he expects a peak in around 21 days. In a not-so-subtle hint at Trump’s hopes of re-opening the economy, Dr. Tom Inglesby at John Hopkins University said the ramifications of doing so would be devastating.
Anyone advising the end of social distancing now needs to fully understand what the country will look like if we do that … Covid would spread widely, rapidly, terribly, and could kill potentially millions in the year ahead, with huge social and economic impact.
As you can see in the chart below, with Trump’s proposed 15-day social distancing measures, the virus would overwhelm hospitals.
But with a month-long social distancing period, the curve flattens significantly.
Still, many on the front-line are exasperated at how long government officials have taken to act. In an emotional video, Dr. Colleen Smith said:
The frustrating thing about all of this is it just feels like too little, too late. Like, we knew it was coming.
While the U.S. has now overtaken China in confirmed coronavirus cases, there is reason to believe China’s numbers aren’t fully accurate. One report claimed that China was underreporting its Covid-19 cases by as much as 520% in some provinces.
On the other hand, U.S. cases are also likely much higher than reported. Numerous accounts point to patients being refused tests while others will have the virus with only mild or moderate symptoms.