Thousands of new coronavirus cases are being identified across the United States each day, including in large clusters in the New York City area, along the Gulf Coast and in the Pacific Northwest. As of Wednesday afternoon, at least 59,502 people across every state, plus Washington, D.C., and three U.S. territories, have tested positive for the virus, according to a New York Times database, and at least 804 patients with the virus have died.
The explosion of new cases, which is expected to continue in the days ahead, comes as more state and private labs begin testing for the virus after weeks of delays and test kit shortages. New York State, which has been especially aggressive in testing, announced more than 5,100 new cases on Wednesday. That state accounts for more than half of the country’s known coronavirus cases.
The outbreak looks vastly different in the United States than it did a few weeks ago. At the start of March, with extremely limited testing available, only 70 cases had been reported in the country, most of them tied to overseas travel.
As the number of known cases reached into the hundreds, then the thousands, then the tens of thousands, life across the country has changed in swift, profound ways. School playgrounds and college quads now stand deserted. Nail salons, department stores and barber shops have been forced to close. Baseball’s spring training, college basketball tournaments and concert tours have been called off.