U.S. Coronavirus Cases Doubled in Just Five Days as Daily Death Toll Increasing Exponentially

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have soared for weeks, nearly doubling in five days, while the death rate has also rapidly climbed.

The virus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China, has infected over 939,000 people across 180 countries, including the U.S., which is now the epicenter of the pandemic with more than 216,700 confirmed cases, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

More than 195,000 of have recovered from infection, including nearly 90 percent of China's infected population of 82,300 patients and at least 8,672 in the U.S. But 47,200 have died, including more than 5,000 in the U.S., as of Thursday.

The outbreak has been gaining ground in the U.S. from around mid-March, when the number of cases exploded, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The total confirmed infections nearly doubled in five days, with 103,321 cases reported on March 27, according to the CDC, and climbing to around 215,000 by April 1.

The daily death toll in the U.S. has increased exponentially over the course of nearly three weeks. There were about 10 new fatalities reported five days since three daily deaths were first recorded. Just five days later, the number of new deaths shot up to nearly 50, the Financial Times (FT) reported.

Another five days later (on the 15th day since three daily deaths were recorded), the daily death toll climbed to around 200. By around the 20th day, nearly 500 new fatalities were recorded, FT reports.

Daily death counts in New York, which has the highest number and fatalities in the country, have been increasing at a dramatic rate. On around the fourth day since three daily deaths were first reported, the state's daily death toll was at nearly 17. It increased to just under 200 new fatalities by the 10th day.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the disease caused by the new strain of coronavirus, in a selection of states.

This infographic shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York state, Washington state and California.
This infographic shows the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York state, Washington state and California.

The death rates have also been climbing in New Jersey, Michigan, and Louisiana, which have each seen a daily death toll of nearly 40 by around the seventh day, rising from 20 new deaths on the fifth day since three daily deaths were first reported, FT reports.

Fatalities in the U.S. are expected to surge in the next two weeks and U.S. officials project between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans could potentially die from the virus if no mitigation measures are implemented.

"As sobering a number as that is, we should be prepared for it," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is also a member of the COVID-19 task force, said at a White House press briefing on Tuesday. "We don't necessarily have to accept it as being inevitable. We have to brace ourselves. ... We can not be discouraged by that because the mitigation is actually working and will work."

A taxi driver wears a face mask and gloves as he drives down Times Square on March 26, 2020 in New York City.
A taxi driver wears a face mask and gloves as he drives down Times Square on March 26, 2020 in New York City. Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person, the World Health Organization (WHO) advises. Getty Images

Dr. Deborah Birx, a physician and medical expert on the COVID-19 virus task force, also noted the critical role social distancing measures will play especially in states where cases have yet to spike as they have in New York.

The daily death counts in China and South Korea have seen a significant drop, while new fatalities in Italy and Spain have also seen a slight decline in recent days.

More than 10 countries in the world have been recording weekly death tolls in the hundreds and thousands, including Iran, the U.K, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. In most countries, that figure is increasing, with the exception of a handful of nations, FT reports.

On Wednesday, the U.K, France, and Spain each reported their highest ever daily death tolls to date.

The graphic below, provided by Statista, illustrates the spread of COVID-19 across the U.S.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in US
This chart shows the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States as of Wednesday, April 1, at 3 a.m. ET. Statista

Data on COVID-19 cases is from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.