The potential devastation that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes coronavirus disease (2019-nCoV or COVID-19), could wreak on the American public and the nation’s healthcare system is becoming more apparent every day. As of 8:47 p.m. EDT on March 17, there are 108 deaths and 6,362 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country, and the U.S. pandemic now has both a West Coast epicenter and an East Coast epicenter: Washington, which has 1,076 confirmed cases, and New York, which has 1,706 confirmed cases, according to the COVID-19 Global Case Tracker from the Coronavirus Resource Center at the Johns Hopkins University of Medicine.
Sadly, these numbers are already outdated because the number of new cases increases exponentially daily, if not hourly, as testing expands. The March 17 data shows an increase of more than 1,000 cases in 24 hours—largely driven by new cases identified in New York. However, West Virginia is the sole state that has reported no confirmed or presumptive positive COVID-19 cases, and California, in addition to New York and Washington, is particularly affected, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).