Last updated March 29 at 6 p.m. ET.
Cases of COVID-19 have surpassed 100,000 in the United States, doubling in just three days. On Wednesday (March 25), the U.S. became the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, its case count surpassing both China, where the outbreak began, and Italy, a country seeing a surge in new cases every day. Since the novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in the U.S. on Jan. 20, it has spread to at least 136,880 people in the U.S., across all 50 states.
Of those reported cases, 2,414 people have died in the U.S. from the virus, with at least 965 of those deaths in New York and 189 in Washington state. Globally, more than 713,171 cases have been confirmed, with 33,854 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins dashboard.
[Live Science is tracking case counts and relevant news from each U.S. state. Click on your state in the list below.]
—New York cases have surged, accounting for about half of all U.S. cases, with about 59,606 confirmed to have COVID-19 in the state.
—The first infant death in the U.S. related to COVID-19 was reported in the Chicago area on Saturday (March 28).
—The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, set off from Norfolk, Virginia, on Saturday (March 28) for its destination in New York City, where it will dock Monday (March 30) and be used for treating patients not infected with COVID-19. Another similar ship, the USNS Mercy has set sail for Los Angeles.
—Certain hotspots seem to be starting to emerge in the Midwest, according to Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, who added that two counties in particular, Wayne County in Michigan and Cook County in Illinois, are seeing a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, The Washington Post reported.
—The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship, will set off from Norfolk, Virginia, today (March 28) for its destination in New York City, where it will dock Monday (March 30) and be used for treating patients not infected with COVID-19, The Hill reported. Another similar ship, the USNS Mercy has set sail for Los Angeles.
—Florida governor has ordered a 14-day quarantine or isolation for anyone traveling from New York, New Jersey or Connecticut back to the Sunshine State, CNN reported.
The hospital ship USNS Comfort is expected to dock at Manhattan Cruise Terminal's Pier 90 on Monday (March 30), USA Today reported. The ship, which will be used to treat non-COVID-19 patients, is equipped with 12 operating rooms, with "hospital beds, a medical laboratory, a pharmacy, an optometry lab, digital radiology, a CAT scan, two oxygen-producing plants and a helicopter deck," the U.S. Department of Defense reported. A 1,200-strong medical staff from the U.S. Navy will operate the hospital.
Nearly 31,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in New York City as of Saturday afternoon (March 28), with 672 deaths related to the novel coronavirus. Hospitals across the U.S. are desperate for medical supplies, including personal protection equipment (PPE), such as proper face masks, and ventilators, according to several news reports. In a recent Tweet, an internal medicine resident in New York City, said: "I feel I must tweet because the press does not reflect our reality. The deluge is here. Our ICU is completely full with intubated COVID patients. We are rapidly moving to expand capacity. We are nearly out of PPE. I anticipate we will begin rationing today."
US coronavirus hotspots
Cases of this virus are ramping up rapidly in a few U.S. cities, which could become the next epicenters of the virus in the U.S. if the trajectory doesn’t change, according to multiple news reports. Axios reported that cases are rising in Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia.
“It’s important for people to know that everyone’s curve is going to look different. New York is going to look different from Boise, Idaho, Jackson, Mississippi, or New Orleans,” Dr. Jerome Adams, the U.S. Surgeon General, told CBS This Morning on Friday (March 27). Adams added that New York cases could start to decrease next week.
“But we also see hotspots like Detroit, like Chicago, like New Orleans that will have a worse week next week than this week,” Adams added.
On Friday (March 26), New Orleans had 1,170 COVID-19 cases, of the state’s total of 2,746, according to WDSU News. The city of Detroit has reported 1,075 COVID-19 cases, a little under one-third of Michigan’s total, 3,657, clickondetroit.com reported. And Philly has logged 475 cases to date, out of Pennsylvania’s nearly 1,700 cases, CBS Philly reported.
Coronavirus rescue plan
President Donald Trump signed into law a $2 trillion rescue bill on Friday (March 27) in the Oval Office, after the House of Representatives passed it through a voice vote the same day; the U.S. Senate had passed the bill unanimously on Wednesday (March 25), The New York Times reported. There was concern that a representative in the House would demand a so-called "roll call" or recorded vote, in which each member's vote gets recorded through an electronic voting machine. But that takes time, and it means enough representatives voting yes must be present for the vote to pass.
Instead, the representatives used a "voice vote," in which the "presiding officer" states the question and those in favor say "Yea" and those against, "Nay." The presiding officer then announces the result according to their judgment, and the names of the representatives are not recorded.
Here's what the bill looks like, according to a breakdown of the bill by Bloomberg.com: About $532 billion would go to "big business, local government loans and financial assistance," including $61 billion that would go directly to airlines. About $377 billion would go to small business loans and grants. About $290 billion would provide direct payments to families in certain tax brackets; $260 billion in unemployment insurance; $290 billion in tax cuts; and $150 billion for state and local stimulus finds. The following "miscellaneous" funds are also part of the rescue bill: $126 billion to hospitals and other health care facilities; $45 billion for FEMA; $31 billion for education stabilization; $27 billion for vaccines and stockpiles; $25 billion for infrastructure; and $131 billion for "other."
The direct payments to families would go to low- and middle-income families/individuals and would include: $1,200 for each adult and $500 for each child in those households, Bloomberg.com reported.
Coronavirus reshaping American life
Across the country, the novel coronavirus has transformed daily life. At least 18 states, and several cities in other states, have now ordered residents to shelter in place, affecting more than 100 million people: California; Delaware; Atlanta, Georgia; Hawaii; Illinois; Indiana, Louisiana; Massachusetts, Michigan; Kansas City and St. Louis County in Missouri; New Mexico; New Jersey; New York; Ohio; Oregon; several counties in Pennsylvania; South Carolina, Virginia; Washington; West Virginia; Wisconsin, USA Today reported. Texas governor left stay-at-home decisions to local governments: Dallas County has ordered stay-at-home orders, according to USA Today.
More than 46 states have closed all public schools for weeks, some not opening this academic year, according to Education Week. Hospitals are preparing for a tsunami of patients, canceling elective procedures, repurposing their facilities for coronavirus patients, and adding extra beds. On Friday (March 13), the CDC issued new guidance on school closure; schools may need to be closed for 8 to 20 weeks to have any impact on the course of the disease. Shorter closures may have no impact, the CDC said, and locales that have closed schools, such as Hong Kong, have not had better containment success than places that have kept them open, such as Singapore.
Late Friday (March 13), Congress passed a bill meant to help those who have been affected by coronavirus. The bill expands access to free testing, expands sick leave for those who are most vulnerable, and provides food aid. President Donald Trump also declared a national emergency. On Wednesday (March 25), the Trump administration and U.S. senators passed an historic $2 trillion rescue plan to help boost the faltering economy and help hard-hit Americans and industries, NPR reported.
On Monday (March 16), Trump recommended that people work from home, stay out of school, avoid restaurants, bars and avoid all gatherings of more than 10 people, though he kept short of enforcing it. The president has also suspended all travel from Europe to the U.S. for the next 30 days.
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As of March 26, 92 state and local public health laboratories in 50 states and the District of Columbia have working COVID-19 diagnostic tests, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced. As of March 29, the CDC and public labs in the U.S. had tested more than 130,403 specimens; that doesn't equate to that many individuals tested, as labs may run two tests per person to confirm an infection. When commercial labs are added in, a total of 766,761 COVID-19 tests have been run in the U.S. as of Sunday (March 29), according to the COVID Tracking Project.
States differ in their rates of testing, with California completing 25,192 tests with another 64,400 pending results as of March 27, and New York running 155,934 as of March 28; that’s compared with about 12,385 in Missouri and 10,425 in Arizona as of March 28.
On Tuesday (March 24), the FDA granted the San Diego-based Mesa Biotech an "emergency use authorization" for its rapid diagnostic test for COVID-19 (called Accula SARS-CoV-2 Test), which delivers results in 30 minutes, Forbes reported. The firm's CEO said the device fits in the palm of your hand and can easily be sent out to point-of-care locations for testing.
The news follows another EUA granted to California-based company Cepheid for a rapid COVID-19 test whose results take 45 minutes, Live Science reported. There are 5,000 systems in the U.S. capable of running this rapid test, which Cepheid said it would start shipping out March 30.
LabCorp, which processes samples collected by state health departments and hospitals, said it will now be able to run 20,000 tests a day, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
In addition, Deborah Birx, a member of the president's coronavirus task force, said that the U.S. had granted emergency authorization for Roche holdings to release its automated test, which should rapidly scale up the ability to conduct testing.
Meanwhile, other headwinds face efforts to scale up testing. Lab directors are worried that they may run out of swabs, reagents and RNA extraction kits needed for mass testing, The New York Times reported. Because many countries are fighting cases in their country, competition for those supplies has increased.
Testing varies by state. Just a few days ago, New York was running only a few hundred COVID-19 tests a day, The New York Times reported, but that is ramping up — On Wednesday night (March 18), the governor reported 7,584 tests had been run. To date, New York has run more than 45,000 tests, according to the COVID Testing Project. In Washington state, the University of Washington Virology Lab can run about 2,200 samples a day (with a goal of 5,000 per day), while the state’s public health lab can process 200 a day with the goal of 400 samples being run per day, the health department reported.
U.S. coronavirus cases
(Click state name to find more info for some states)
Alabama: 820 (9 deaths)
Alaska: 102 (2 deaths)
Arizona: 919 (17 deaths)
Arkansas: 421 (5 deaths)
California: 5,846 (124 deaths)
Colorado: 2,061 (44 deaths)
Connecticut: 1,993 (34 deaths)
Delaware: 232 (6 deaths)
District of Columbia: 342 (5 deaths)
Florida: 4,246 (56 deaths)
Georgia: 2,651 (80 deaths)
Idaho: 268 (6 deaths)
Illinois: 4,596 (65 deaths)
Indiana: 1,514 (32 deaths)
Iowa: 336 (3 deaths)
Kansas: 319 (6 deaths)
Kentucky: 439 (8 deaths)
Louisiana: 3,540 (151 deaths)
Maine: 253 (1 death)
Maryland: 1,239 (10 deaths)
Massachusetts: 4,955 (48 deaths)
Michigan: 5,486 (132 deaths)
Minnesota: 503 (9 deaths)
Mississippi: 758 (14 deaths)
Missouri: 903 (12 deaths)
Montana: 154 (1 death)
Nebraska: 108 (2 deaths)
Nevada: 890 (22 deaths)
New Hampshire: 214 (2 deaths)
New Jersey: 13,386 (161 deaths)
New Mexico: 237 (2 deaths)
New York: 59,606 (965 deaths)
North Carolina: 1,124 (7 deaths)
North Dakota: 98 (1 death)
Ohio: 1,653 (29 deaths)
Oklahoma: 429 (16 deaths)
Oregon: 548 (13 deaths)
Pennsylvania: 3,419 (39 deaths)
Rhode Island: 294 (3 deaths)
South Carolina: 774 (16 deaths)
South Dakota: 90 (1 death)
Tennessee: 1,720 (7 deaths)
Texas: 2,640 (37 deaths)
Utah: 719 (2 deaths)
Vermont: 235 (12 deaths)
Virginia: 890 (22 deaths)
Washington: 4,310 (189 deaths)
West Virginia: 113 (1 death)
Wisconsin: 1,112 (15 deaths)
Guam: 56 (1 death)
Puerto Rico: 127 (5 deaths)
U.S. Virgin Islands: 21
Diamond Princess: 46
Sources: worldometer, Johns Hopkins dashboard, state health departments.
Frontline health care workers hit
Two emergency room (ER) doctors have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in critical condition, Dr. William Jaquis, the president of the American College of Emergency Physicians announced on Saturday (March 14). One is a man in his 40s in Washington state; another is a 70-year-old physician, James Pruden, in Paterson, New Jersey, who was leading the emergency preparedness plan at St. Joseph's University Medical Center.
"I am deeply saddened by this news, but not surprised," Jaquis wrote in the statement. "As emergency physicians, we know the risks of our calling. We stand united with our colleagues and our thoughts and prayers for a full and speedy recovery are with each of them and their families."
Because there is widespread community transmission in Washington, it's not clear if the man became infected in the ER, or outside of it. He wore appropriate personal protective equipment at all times, the statement read.
The New Jersey doctor came down with respiratory symptoms several days ago, and is now in an isolation unit in the ICU.
This is not the first time that doctors, nurses and health care workers on the frontline have become infected with COVID-19. A health care worker in Solano County, California, tested positive after a patient with the virus was admitted to a hospital there, the Sacramento Bee reported. She was not tested for several days, and more than 200 people who had contact with that person were quarantined. Several healthcare workers in the Seattle area are now infected with COVID-19, according to KUOW.
And frontline medical providers across the U.S. are bracing for coronavirus amid a cascade of rapidly changing guidance on how to protect themselves and treat patients, Live Science reported.
Hospital transmission is a growing concern for doctors and nurses facing a shortage of masks, the Los Angeles Times reported. On Tuesday (March 9), the CDC released guidance saying that looser-fitting, thinner, surgical masks, rather than N95 respirators — which filter out 95% of airborne particles bigger than 5 microns — would be sufficient for many doctors and nurses treating patients with the new coronavirus. That guidance was meant to protect the rapidly dwindling U.S. supply of N95 respirators. The Strategic National Stockpile, meant to provide supplies in an emergency, contains just 1% of the needed 3.5 billion N95 masks that could be needed for health care workers, CNBC reported.
Health care workers are at high risk of infection; a study published March 13 in the journal the Lancet found that 20% of frontline health care workers in northern Italy have become infected with COVID-19. And as Live Science previously reported, a study from China found that N95 respirators were more effective than surgical masks at protecting health care workers from COVID-19. That study, published to the preprint database medRxiv, has not been through peer review.
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Originally published on Live Science.