The number of cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, in the United States topped one million as of Wednesday morning, meaning the country's confirmed case count now accounts for one-third of all Covid-19 cases that have been reported worldwide.
In 100 days, US Covid-19 cases surpass 1M; death toll tops 53K
It's been 100 days since U.S. officials detected the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in the United States, and in that time span, the number of cases in the country has grown to more than one million.
As of Wednesday morning, U.S. officials had reported 1,012,683 cases of Covid-19 in the country—up from 987,691 cases as of Tuesday morning.
Officials as of Wednesday morning also had reported 53,034 U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus—up from 50,819 deaths reported as of Tuesday morning.
Trump says 'the worst days' of coronavirus epidemic are over, but experts aren't so sure
Although the numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths continue to rise across the United States, President Trump during a speech to a group of small business owners on Tuesday said, "[E]xperts believe … the worst days of the [global coronavirus] pandemic are behind us."
Trump's comment came as some epicenters of America's coronavirus epidemic reported positive signs of outbreaks slowing down. For example, New Orleans on Monday for the first time in more than a month reported no deaths related to the new coronavirus. In addition, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Tuesday said the daily number of new hospitalizations for Covid-19 in the state fell to a one-month low. Cuomo said the state's three-day rolling average of residents newly hospitalized for the virus dropped to 953 on Monday, marking the first time the state's daily number of new hospitalizations fell below 1,000 since March 24. Cuomo also noted that the number of new intubations and total hospitalizations in the state declined, as well.
In light of the state's progress in curbing its Covid-19 outbreak, Cuomo said he has shifted his focus toward reopening nonessential businesses and easing social distancing measures in New York, which currently is under a statewide stay-at-home order until at least May 15. Cuomo's comments come as several states have begun reopening nonessential businesses and relaxing social distancing measures intended to curb the new coronavirus' spread, and as many other states have released plans to do so in the coming weeks.
But public health experts warn that states may have begun loosening those restrictions and reopening businesses too soon, which might lead to a second wave of the country's Covid-19 epidemic.
Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Prevention, said, "We're in the opening stages of this," and states "are not in the mountains, they're in the foothills. The mountains are still to come."
According to public health experts, there are signs the new coronavirus is following a typical pattern of spreading in large urban cores first and then spreading into rural areas. For example, experts in recent weeks have noticed substantial increases in confirmed Covid-19 cases in Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The United States also has increased its capacity for testing patients for the new coronavirus in recent weeks, though experts say the country's testing capacity still lags behind the level needed to adequately address the epidemic.
CDC expands social distancing guidelines to include pets
To help prevent the new coronavirus from spreading further, CDC in an advisory released Tuesday expanded social distancing guidelines to include pets, such as dogs and cats, after recent reports suggested a small number of Americans' pets have tested positive for the virus.
According to the guidelines, people should not allow their pets to interact with other people or animals when they are outside, and people should take steps to prevent their pets from doing so.
"Treat pets as you would other human family members," CDC said. "[D]o not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside the household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets."
CDC said, for example, that dog owners should avoid dog parks and other areas where a large number of people and dogs congregate, walk their pets on a leash, and remain at least six feet away from other people and animals. Cat owners should keep their pets inside whenever possible to prevent them from interacting with other animals or people, CDC recommended.
CDC also suggested that, if a pet owner contracts Covid-19, they should have another member of their household care for their pets if possible. However, if a person with Covid-19 must take care of their pets, they should wear a cloth mask to cover their face while interacting with their pets and wash their hands both before and after interaction, CDC said (Budryk, The Hill, 4/28; Layne/Caspani, Reuters, 4/28; Wilson, The Hill, 4/28; Chalfant, The Hill, 4/28; Klar, The Hill, 4/28; Fitz-Gibbon, New York Post, 4/28; Bamforth, Cleveland.com, 4/28; CDC guidelines, accessed 4/29; New York Times, 4/29 ; New York Times, 4/29 ).