The total number of cases tied to the coronavirus outbreak has moved above 13,000 since January, at least in part due to the larger number of tests being available for the American public in recent days.
Many more Americans will now be tested each day
As of Thursday night, there were many more tests available in most metro areas around the country, but New York City’s mayor is already warning the public that other crucial medical supplies will be depleted.
Vice President Mike Pence said in a recent briefing that tens of thousands of new tests should be conducted each day from now until the end of the pandemic. This response was partially to respond to critics, who had accused the Trump administration of dodging questions about the exact number of tests being conducted nationally amidst a slow initial response. He further confirmed that testing is now available in every state, and more test kits are being brought in and used by the hour.
The White House coronavirus coordinator, Dr. Deborah Brix, said the primary reason for the mass increase in new diagnosed cases was due to more test kits being available. She confirmed that the number should continue to rise dramatically over the next two or three days for the same reason. Backlogs of patients that needed to be tested earlier are partially responsible for the recent increase. She also said that the large number of cases being identified is a positive sign that everyone is doing a good job and people with the virus will be able to be identified and quarantined more easily than in the prior week.
New York’s governor Cuomo informed the public in a CNN interview that 8,000 new tests were done throughout the state between Wednesday night and Thursday morning. This resulted in the finding of over 2,000 new cases in the area in a short period of time. It seems that New York may end up getting hit the hardest out of any state by the virus, with well over 5,000 total cases confirmed so far. Washington state also had many early cases, but it is less densely populated, and many of those cases and deaths were tied to a single poorly maintained nursing home in the Seattle area.
In terms of total numbers, over 13,000 positive tests have come back within the U.S. and almost 200 people have died. Thousands of those cases have been confirmed within the last 48 hours. The largest concern with the increase in cases seems to be related to things like staff, supply, and space shortages in hospitals and healthcare facilities. One of the reasons for mass shutdowns around the country was the possibility that large numbers of people getting sick at the same time could cause thousands of additional deaths attributed to people simply not being able to get treatment. Some individuals and philanthropists have already attempted to donate money and supplies in various parts of the country to alleviate shortages.
The total extent of the outbreak is still unknown as there may be many asymptomatic carriers. It is unlikely that people with minor or no symptoms will ever be tested.