Since December 31, when China first reported cases of the novel coronavirus disease to the World Health Organization, it has spread to dozens of countries around the world, including the United States. Now, there are more than 100,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 worldwide, with major outbreaks in mainland China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy.
Covid-19 initially arrived in the US in two ways. First, infected people returned to the US from China, where the virus originated and where the vast majority of cases have been reported. Second, people came into contact with someone who had been to China or to another country with Covid-19. Since February 28, new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the US with no link to travel, which means the disease has been spreading inside the country.
In February, there was little testing done by the US, and many of the original test kits the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sent out could not be validated by testing labs. Another problem was that the testing was focused only on people who’d been to China.
On February 28, the CDC said the problem with the kits was fixed, and it was sending kits to labs around the country along with new, expanded testing criteria. All state and local public health labs as well as qualified private labs are expected to be able to test by the end of this week, USA Today reports.
Health experts say this means the number of cases will rise in the coming weeks. It doesn’t mean the virus is spreading any faster.
Trevor Bradford, an associate member at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said on Twitter that case numbers are rising because there is “likely a backlog of cases to be detected”:
Because of the lack of national testing that had been going on, there is likely a backlog of cases to be detected. As this backlog gets cleared, case counts are going to rise quickly. But please remember that reported cases aren’t newly acquired infections. 3/4
— Trevor Bedford (@trvrb) March 2, 2020
Including those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, more than 300 cases have been reported across the United States. We’ll update this post as more cases are reported and more information becomes available.
Reported cases, reported deaths, and recovered cases (as of March 7, 12:35pm Eastern):
- 86 cases
- 13 deaths
- 1 out of 86 recovered
- 65 cases
- 1 death
- 2 out of 65 recovered
Grand Princess cruise ship:
- 7 cases
- 1 out of 7 recovered
- 6 cases
- 2 out of 6 recovered
- 2 cases
- 1 out of 2 recovered
- 1 case
- 1 out of 1 recovered
These numbers don’t include the 46 repatriated cases from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
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