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U.S. Coronavirus Cases Surpass 5 Million, Only 17 Days After Hitting 4 Million

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U.S. Coronavirus Cases Surpass 5 Million, Only 17 Days After Hitting 4 Million
Medics with Austin-Travis County EMS transport a nursing home resident with coronavirus symptoms on Aug. 3, 2020 in Austin, Texas. John Moore / Getty Images

The U.S. passed five million coronavirus cases on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, just 17 days after it hit the four-million case mark.


The number means the U.S. now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than Ireland and Alabama have people, CNN pointed out.

"This is such a sobering number," Vanderbilt University infectious disease professor Dr. William Schaffner told CNN. "That's a huge number of cases and a very large number of hospitalizations and deaths — and more to come. Because over much of this country, this virus is spreading unimpeded because so many folks are not getting with the program to contain it."

The U.S. continues to lead the world with both cases and deaths. It accounts for about a quarter of global cases and 22 percent of global fatalities, according to NPR. The country has seen 162,938 deaths so far, according to Monday morning figures from Johns Hopkins University. The next hardest-hit country, Brazil, has confirmed more than three million cases and 100,000 deaths.

The U.S. response to the virus has been marked by President Donald Trump's repeated dismissals of the severity of the new disease, pushing of unproven treatments and clashes with public health experts, The Associated Press pointed out.

This has diminished the image of the U.S. in Europe, where officials are surprised the country could not manage to curb the outbreak despite having more preparation time before the disease began to spread rapidly on U.S. soil.

"We Italians always saw America as a model," Corriere della Sera columnist Massimo Franco said, according to The Associated Press. "But with this virus we've discovered a country that is very fragile, with bad infrastructure and a public health system that is nonexistent."

The U.S. is currently reporting around 54,000 cases a day. That is down from a mid-July peak of 75,697, according to The New York Times. Still, cases are increasing in almost 20 states, according to The Associated Press, and deaths are increasing in most.

On a national level, the U.S. has reported more than 1,000 deaths a day for the last five days, and has only reported fewer than 1,000 deaths on four days since July 21.

More than 40 percent of U.S. cases have been reported in just five states: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Georgia.

New York, however, which was an early epicenter of the outbreak, has largely gotten the disease under control. Its Saturday positivity rate — the rate of positive results out of total coronavirus tests — was 0.78 percent, the lowest since the pandemic started.

"Our daily numbers remain low and steady, despite increasing infection rates across the country, and even in our region — and we had the lowest one-day positive rate since we started," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement reported by CNN. "That's an incredible achievement, all thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers."

The other states have not been so successful. Florida reported more than 6,000 new cases for the 13th day in a row Sunday and Texas reported its highest ever seven-day positivity rate, at 19.41 percent.

The states with the most new cases compared to their populations in the past week were Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicted the U.S. would see 300,000 coronavirus deaths by December, NPR reported. That would make COVID-19 the third leading cause of death in the country this year.

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