U.S. hits 1 million COVID-19 cases as states take on testing

April 29, 2020

The U.S. case count for COVID-19 topped 1 million cases, meaning the country accounts for a third of all reported cases of the novel coronavirus in the world.

In total, a tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University shows more than 1,012,000 cases, including more than 58,000 fatalities. The milestone comes a day after the world surpassed 3 million cases in the four months since the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China. Less than one month ago on April 2, the global total hit 1 million cases.

In New York, over 295,000 cases have been identified, including almost 18,000 deaths. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced he will be reopening the state beginning May 15 in regional phases, allowing areas with low case prevalence to open before areas around hard-hit New York City. A region will only consider reopening after 14 days of declining cases, and businesses will be allowed to open if they are able to maintain social distancing.

New Jersey is the second hardest-hit state in the nation and announced more than 400 new fatalities in a 24-hour period, bringing state total to almost 114,000 cases and nearly 6,500 deaths.

Elsewhere across the country, governors continued to talk about initial reopening of economies. To do so, public health experts, politicians and economists have all called for widespread testing.

President Trump recently said the White House would be supplying states with a blueprint for increasing testing, and said by the end of May, 8 million Americans will be tested for COVID-19.

But the blueprint only offers states guidance on how to ramp up testing, and Trump said the federal government should be the "supplier of last resort." The testing guidance says the federal government will send states enough testing materials to test 2 percent of the population.

The President also announced another public-private partnership with major retailers, such as Target and Walmart, who would host testing sites. Such a plan was first proposed by the White House in early March, but it was never realized.

Recently, Carson, CA, became the first city in the country to offer free COVID-19 testing to all residents, whether they are symptomatic or not. The testing will mostly occur through drive-thru sites.

A new poll by the Washington Post and the University of Maryland shows nearly two out of three Americans find appropriate their state's restrictions on restaurants, stores, and other businesses. Sixteen percent of people polled said restrictions are not tight enough.

According to the poll, 64 percent of Americans said they agree with limiting social gatherings to 10 people or less, and 65 percent agree with the President's ban on all immigration in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.

Sixty percent of those polled said they are still somewhat or very worried about contracting the novel coronavirus.

In related news, JetBlue airlines will become the first airline to require fliers to don face masks onboard. The requirement will go into effect on May 4.

Visit CIDRAP for more news