U.S. Records More Coronavirus Cases Than Ireland Has People, With 1 in 65 Testing Positive

Over half a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. recorded over five million cases on Sunday—more than the population of Ireland. According to Johns Hopkins University, 19,869,127 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 5,044,864—or almost a quarter—in the U.S. Ireland has a population of over 4.9 million, compared with 328.2 million in the U.S.

That equates to one in every 65 Americans having tested positive for the virus so far, and one in 2,000 has died. Put another way, the number of people in the U.S. known to have caught the coronavirus is greater than the respective total populations of 27 states, including Alabama, Louisiana, and Kentucky.

On Sunday alone, 46,935 people in the U.S. tested positive for the virus, down from the highs of 70,000 hit several times in recent weeks. On average, 53,772 cases were confirmed each day in the past week, The New York Times reported. Five states have borne the brunt of the cases, making up 40 percent of infections: California, Florida, Texas, New York and Georgia.

According to analysis by CNN, the speed at which cases are being reported has risen over the course of the pandemic. It took the U.S. 99 days to hit 1 million, 43 days to get to 2 million, and 28 days to reach 3 million. Fifteen days later, it hit the 4 million case mark, and took 17 days more to reach 5 million on Sunday.

The U.S. continues to overtake other countries in cases and deaths by a relatively wide margin. Brazil has the second-highest number of diagnoses at more than 3 million, followed by India at 2.2 million, and Russia at almost 891,000.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed the U.S leads the world in coronavirus cases because it tests many people. The president made such claims in an Axios interview last week, where he also said the U.S. coronavirus deaths were "lower than the world." However, experts say the number of tests that come back positive is a more useful measure of a country's success against the virus.

The U.S. makes up more than a quarter of the confirmed deaths, at 162,938 out of the global toll of 731,453. That is more than all the U.S. service members killed in the First World War, or the total killed in the Vietnam and Korea Wars combined.

As well as the second-highest number of reported cases, Brazil also precedes the U.S. in deaths, at over 101,000, followed by over 52,000 in Mexico, and more than 46,000 in the U.K.

Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, told CNN the 5 million milestone "is such a sobering number."

He said: "That's a huge number of cases and a very large number of hospitalizations and deaths—and more to come."

Schaffner said, "Over much of this country, this virus is spreading unimpeded because so many folks are not getting with the program to contain it."

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An MTA subway conductor wearing a face mask looks out of a window on August 09, 2020 in New York City. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images