Despite inadequate testing, the United States overtook China on Thursday afternoon, and now has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the world.
The New York Times reports: In the United States, at least 81,321 people are known to have been infected with the coronavirus, including more than 1,000 deaths — more cases than China, Italy or any other country has seen, according to data gathered by The New York Times. With 330 million residents, the United States is the world’s third most populous nation, meaning it provides a vast pool of people who can potentially get Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. And it is a sprawling, cacophonous democracy, where states set their own policies and President Trump has sent mixed messages about the scale of the danger and how to fight it, ensuring there was no coherent, unified response to a grave public health threat.
Despite those numbers, President Donald Trump is proposing to relax social distancing guidelines.
CNN reports: President Donald Trump told US governors on Thursday his administration was preparing to issue new, potentially more relaxed social distancing guidelines based on geographic risk factors for the novel coronavirus, even as some health experts warn it’s too early to allow Americans to congregate in large groups or return to their workplaces.In a letter, Trump said new coronavirus testing capabilities would allow his administration to identify “high-risk, medium risk and low-risk” counties where different levels of social distancing would be appropriate. “Our expanded testing capabilities will quickly enable us to publish criteria, developed in close coordination with the Nation’s public health officials and scientists, to help classify counties with respect to continued risks posed by the virus,” he wrote.
Trump was scheduled to speak at a White House briefing on the coronavirus shortly after 5 p.m. Eastern on Thursday. Watch it live below, and check out a few reactions to the latest news.