Coronavirus Update: More Than 2,000 Deaths in U.S.

FDNY emergency medical technicians secure a patient identified to have coronavirus into an ambulance, New York City, March 24, 2020. (Stefan Jeremiah/Reuters)

Seventeen U.S. states have now confirmed more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus, with the national total over 119,000. New York remains the epicenter of the domestic outbreak, with more than 50,000 confirmed cases. Trump floated the idea of placing restrictions on travel in and out of New York, but yesterday he announced he would opt instead to have the CDC issue a “strong travel advisory.” Meanwhile, Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo has ordered state troopers to stop vehicles with New York license plates, collect drivers’ contact information, and inform them that they must self-quarantine for 14 days.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro

On a more encouraging note, New York and New Jersey have had success in lowering the rate of new cases. The table below shows the compounded daily growth rate over the past five days and the change in that growth rate from five days prior. The steep declines in New York and New Jersey reflect that while that number of confirmed cases continues to grow, the rate at which it is increasing is slowing. California has not yet seen case numbers as high as those of New York and New Jersey, so the growth rate in new cases has only slightly declined. Louisiana’s numbers 13 days into its outbreak continue to be troubling, but the state has high testing capacity, which could enable it to elude the outbreak we’re seeing in New York.

Table: Daniel Tenreiro

The death toll is beginning to mount in New York and New Jersey. Nationally, more than 2,000 have died — double the number just two days ago. That amounts to a domestic cumulative fatality rate of roughly 1.7 percent, significantly higher than the 0.1 percent fatality rate for the seasonal flu. Doctors in certain states have begun to administer hydroxychloroquine along with azithromycin, a combination which appears to have been effective in certain cases, but has not yet passed a clinical trial. Two university clinics are currently studying the drug’s efficacy as a COVID-19 treatment.

Graph: Daniel Tenreiro

The U.S. continues to ramp up testing capacity, ranking highest in total tests administered globally. However, that ranking does not adjust for population, and the U.S. must continue to expand diagnostics if it is to roll back shutdowns in place across the country.

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Graph: Daniel Tenreiro

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