On Thursday, July 23rd the United States reached the newest unfortunate milestone in regards to the coronavirus. Thursday saw the number of confirmed coronavirus cases hit the four million mark in the U.S. Of course, this is just the number of reported cases, and the actual number is likely to be at least ten times that four million figure. As of now, more than 143,000 people have perished from the virus in the U.S., the most in the world. How did this happen? Below you’ll find a timeline of the progression of the virus throughout the first half of 2020 within the United States.
January 21, 2020: U.S. gets its first case
The pandemic had already been in other countries for months starting in late 2019, but it wasn’t until late January that the U.S. was hit with its first reported case. This was after the CDC started to conduct health screenings in airports. At the time, China had about 500 confirmed cases. Following this first case in late January, the first two deaths in the U.S. came in early to mid- February.
This is the day that many people will remember. March saw the spread of the virus after the initial cases in February and the number moved from 100 total cases to 1,000 in a period of about eight days. This also marked the day President Trump announced a travel ban from Europe. Finally, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially labeled COVID-19 as a pandemic.
In addition, the first weeks of March included the cancellation or postponement of large festivals and gatherings in the U.S. including SXSW, Coachella, and Bonnaroo.
March also included the beginning of the suspension of all professional sports in North America. The National Basketball Association came first after a player tested positive for the virus and abruptly canceled the game that his team was about to play on March 11. The National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, and other major sporting events in America were soon to follow.
Amidst all of these cancellations, San Francisco became the first metropolitan area to place a “stay at home” lockdown order on its residents.
March will probably also be remembered as the time in America where terms like “social distancing”, “flattening the curve”, “self-quarantine”, and “shelter in place” became mainstream expressions.
March 26, 2020: U.S. tops the world and reaches 100,000 cases
In a two week period, the number of reported cases exploded from 1,000 to 100,000. This made the U.S. the nation hit hardest by the coronavirus. In addition to the 100,000 cases, the country reached more than 1,000 deaths at this time.
At this time, Trump signed off on the $2 trillion relief act known as the CARES Act. This marked the biggest relief package in the United States’ history. This included $1,200 stimulus checks to millions of eligible Americans and more for those with families. In addition, the package included billions of dollars to be allocated to businesses affected by the pandemic with the creation of SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and the Paycheck Protection Program.
April 1, 2020: U.S. hits 200,000 confirmed cases
As the calendar turned to the month of April, the U.S. hit the 200,000 mark of confirmed cases. 1,000 people lost their lives in one day for the first time, which moved the number of death’s in the country to 5,000 people.
On April 3rd, the CDC declared that American citizens should indeed wear face masks. This was after they had initially maintained that the masks should be saved for those who really needed them in the medical field. This also coincided with the revelation that people who are asymptomatic could spread COVID-19 unknowingly.
Finally, it was during this time that the unemployment rate began to hit record highs as Americans were laid off, furloughed, or unable to work because of the virus. Unemployment offices were overloaded with requests and many individuals applying for unemployment were forced to diligently get in contact with state officials.
April 28, 2020: U.S. hits one million cases, 50,000 dead
By the last week of April, the number of confirmed cases had grown fivefold from 200,000 to one million. In addition, the number of deaths increased even more jumping from 5,000 to 50,000 during this period of time. This number put the U.S. at 33rd out of a total of 134 countries in terms of the mortality rate.
As in March, unemployment continued to rise in April. It increased by approximately 10.3 percent to a whopping 14.7 percent, which is the highest single month increase since the data began to be collected. By the end of the month of April, 23.1 million people were unemployed, which equates to an increase of 15.9 million people that month.
May 27, 2020: 100,000 deaths
Things seemed to be turning around in the month of May. The national curve was flattening, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. This led to many states loosening restrictions and entering the various stages of reopening.
Many people opted to end their quarantine by leaving the house with family and friends in celebration of Memorial Day. This period saw the reemergence of crowded beaches and pool parties. If that wasn’t enough of a warning sign, the killing of George Floyd brought large protests in the streets following the Memorial Day weekend.
June 11, 2020: The U.S. reaches two million cases
It took approximately a month and a half for the U.S. to go from one million to two million total cases. The number of cases in more than a dozen states and Puerto Rico increased drastically because of the lifting of the restrictions that happened in May. This huge increase in cases led to many states going back on their loosening of restrictions and pausing or reverting to earlier stages of the reopening process.
July 23, 2020: U.S. cases climbs to four million
As stated, the number of cases doubled between mid- June and the final week of July with the number of deaths hitting 143,000 people.
Clearly, the milestones will not end here, much to the grief of all Americans. Congress is now working on a second stimulus package and it remains to be seen what that will entail. Many Americans who have been receiving unemployment are set to see the weekly $600 expire at the end of July. Obviously, a lot will change in the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye on the latest developments and stay safe.
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