US Now Leads The World In Confirmed Coronavirus Cases

Update: See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak

The United States now leads the world in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases.

According to a running count by Johns Hopkins University, the number of people infected in the US topped 82,000 on Thursday.

That is just ahead of the 81,000 cases in China, and 80,000 in Italy.

Italy has the most confirmed deaths of any country with more than 8,000. More than 1,000 people have died in the US.

The next highest case numbers are in Spain, France, Germany and Iran.

More than 1,000 people in the US have died from Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, so far. 

In New York, the epicentre of the virus in the US at this point, there were more than 37,000 confirmed cases across the state as of Thursday, and more than 385 people had died. Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the state’s hospitals will likely become overwhelmed. 

As broad swathes of the United States have ordered nonessential businesses to shutter and millions of residents to stay at home, nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week alone — more than quadruple the previous record set in 1982. 

US President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in Washington. (Photo: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

The Senate passed a $2 trillion economic rescue legislation package on Wednesday, which includes expanded unemployment insurance benefits. The House is expected to pass it without making changes on Friday.

President Donald Trump spent weeks repeatedly downplaying the virus, and earlier this week expressed his hope that the country would reopen in time for Easter — in less than three weeks. Meanwhile cases and death tolls are mounting in the US, and experts are calling for continued measures that enforce widespread social distancing to stem the spread of the virus. 

After weeks of states demanding more capacity to test people for the virus — including actual complete test kits from the federal government — testing has only recently begun to ramp up nationwide, with the numbers of confirmed positive cases expected to mount accordingly. 

Meanwhile, states have called out the lack of critical medical equipment, like ventilators, and hospitals and health workers have reported a shortage of personal protective equipment they need to stay healthy while treating patients with the virus. 

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.