U.S. Now Has the World’s Largest Coronavirus Outbreak

Health-care workers test for COVID-19 in Jericho, New York. Photo: Steve Pfost/Newsday via Getty Images

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On Thursday afternoon, the United States, despite woefully insufficient levels of testing, earned the dubious honor of having the most coronavirus cases in the world, with 82,177 American patients surpassing China’s 81,285.

Though that number represents about 15.6 percent of the world’s total of around 510,000 cases, the United States’ 1,176 deaths make up a little under 5 percent of the world total. However, that number is expected to rise as cases and mortality in the U.S. continue to skyrocket each day. On Sunday, the nationwide death total was at 326.

Though China initially suffered from an alarming transmission rate, the spread of COVID-19 has slowed to just two-digit growth per day in the country of almost 1.4 billion. The stark turnaround, thanks largely to authoritarian measures to enforce social distancing, was made even clearer by the order to temporarily close the borders at midnight on Friday in order to prevent foreign travelers from reintroducing the virus in Chinese cities. Less than two months ago, President Trump had banned Chinese nationals, save for a few exemptions, from entry into the United States.

While the coronavirus outbreak in the United States has been largely confined to states like Washington, California, and New York — where at least 37,000 cases were diagnosed on Thursday — it appears that states like Florida and Louisiana are expected to face significant transmission rates in the coming days. Since the first infection was recorded in the Pelican State, it’s seen the world’s highest average daily growth rate, of 65.7 percent.

U.S. Now Has the World’s Largest Coronavirus Outbreak