With U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force team looking on, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a press briefing in the press briefing room of the White House March 10, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
The new coronavirus that’s rapidly spreading throughout the U.S. reached all 50 states and D.C. on Tuesday after West Virginia confirmed its first case and the U.S. death toll passed 100.
The virus has now infected more than 5,809 people across the country and killed at least 100. There were just 62 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S. on March 1, according to the World Health Organization.
The number of actual cases in the country is likely significantly higher, state and local officials say. Testing in the U.S. has been hampered by delays and a restrictive diagnostic criteria that limited who could get tested.
Almost half of all confirmed U.S. cases are in Washington state, California and New York, where major epidemics have erupted, prompting the governors to declare states of emergency to free up funding for communities battling outbreaks. More than half of all deaths in the U.S. occurred in Washington state, where the virus has killed 53 people.
King County in Washington state has been hit particularly hard by the virus with 46 deaths reported in the county alone. Of those 46 deaths, local officials have confirmed that 30 are associated with the Life Care residential center in Kirkland, Washington that became the source of an outbreak last month.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those most at risk of dying from the virus are older people and those with underlying health conditions.
Without meaningful federal intervention, local leaders have adopted what New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Monday a “hodgepodge” of actions across the nation to contain the outbreak. Cuomo and other tri-state area officials on Monday banned all gatherings of 50 or more people and placed restrictions on restaurants, bars and other places of recreation.
Governors in Maryland and Washington state, which has the second-highest number of cases behind New York but the nation’s most deaths, followed suit with similar actions.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Monday he signed an emergency declaration temporarily shutting down bars and restaurants statewide. He also banned public gatherings of more than 50 people.
“Never since World War II have we faced a situation like this,” Inslee said Monday. “For the next several weeks, normal is not in our game plan.”
San Francisco Bay area officials ordered some 7 million residents to “shelter in place” on Monday, marking what might be the most aggressive and restrictive measures in the country yet.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that New York City could follow suit, warning New Yorkers to prepare for the possibility that they will be required to shelter in place.
“We are all deeply concerned … this is quite clear this is a fast-growing crisis,” he said at a press conference. “All New Yorkers, even though a decision has not been made by the city or the state, I think that all New Yorkers should be prepared right now for the possibility of a shelter-in-place order.”