U.S. COVID-19 cases surge past 85,000, highest total in world

March 27, 2020

Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, surpassed 85,000 in the United States, giving it the most cases in the world. On March 25, the most active day so far in the country, over 14,000 new cases were reported, and the national death toll reached almost 1,300 fatalities. 

The United States has passed both Italy and China to have the most COVID-19 cases in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins online tracker and other similar trackers. Currently, 21 states have shelter-in-place or stay-at-home mandates that ask the non-essential workforce to remain at home for 14 to 30 days in an effort to slow the spread of the pandemic. 

In some areas of the U.S., namely in New York City and in parts of California, hot spots are appearing and producing a hospitalization rate that is doubling every two to three days. According to the Los Angeles Times, if that rate holds, California hospitals could see a surge in patients in one to two weeks, according to Mark Ghaly, MD, the state's secretary of Health and Human Services. 

"We originally thought that it would be doubling every six to seven day, but we see cases doubling every three to four days," Ghaly said during a press conference. "[We're] watching that trend very, very closely." To date there have been over 3,000 cases reported in California, which was the first state to confirm community spread of the virus in Santa Clara County. 

In nearby, Washington state, the first state hit hard with the novel coronavirus, officials have reported that it has now confirmed over 2,500 cases. 

Elsewhere in the U.S., Detroit, New Orleans and Atlanta have all reported quickly filling intensive care units (ICUs) as those cities see more than 1,000 cases. 

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said he expects his state to be out of ventilators by the first week of April, and that they need an additional 600 machines. Over a 24-hour period, Louisiana recorded more than 500 cases, with most of the cases in New Orleans. 

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has also been vocal in his request to the federal government for 30,000 more ventilators before COVID-19 cases reach the projected peak in that state in 14 days. 

As of March 25, New York state reported over 33,000 cases, the most of any state in the country, an increase of more than 7,000 cases in 24 hours. In both the New York Times and the New York Post, doctors and nurses from some of the busiest hospitals in New York City shared how staff were fashioning protective gowns from garbage bags and allotting one mask per 12-hour shift as hospitals strain under the influx of patients. 

Neighboring New Jersey also reported a surge of newly confirmed infections in the past 24 hours, bringing the state’s total to over 4,400. 

On National Public Radio, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), warned that other states and cities could look like New York City in the coming weeks. He said a recent surge of cases in Florida is telling, and the state may be on the same projection as New York. Currently, Florida has almost 2,400 confirmed cases. 

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