United States Officially Has Most Confirmed Coronavirus Cases in the World

For the first time, the United States is leading the world in the most confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, surpassing both China and Italy. According to data from The New York Times, as of Thursday afternoon the U.S. had 81,578 confirmed cases — and 1,180 deaths — due to coronavirus-related illness. That number continued to rise and by Friday morning had hit 86,012 cases in the country with 1,301 deaths.

Meanwhile, China has 81,340 confirmed cases, while Italy has 80,539, according to the Times. Italy leads the world in deaths from the virus with 8,165. Data gathered by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine showed similar figures, reporting 85,996 confirmed cases in the U.S. with 1,300 deaths, and 81,897 cases in China with 3,296 deaths and 80,589 in Italy with 8,215 deaths.

The majority of the cases in the U.S. are in New York, which has 37,258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 387 deaths, the Times reports. New York City hospitals are struggling to manage the high volume of cases and are in desperate need of medical supplies like masks and ventilators. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he expects the need for 140,000 hospital beds at the peak of the state's crisis, which is more than double the current capacity, NBC New York reports.

Since the first case of COVID-19 surfaced in Wuhan, China, in December, the deadly virus quickly spread worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, and later, a global pandemic. The first case in the U.S. was confirmed in Everett, Washington, in late January after the patient had recently returned from Wuhan, one of China's biggest transportation hubs. The first coronavirus-reported death in the U.S. came about a month later on Feb. 29, a woman from Washington state in her 50s with pre-existing medical conditions.

Almost half of all Americans have been ordered to stay at home, including 22 states like California, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Illinois, Ohio and Louisiana, Business Insider reports. Some metro areas in other states are also under stay-at-home orders. The goal of stay-at-home orders is to minimize how often people come within 6 feet of one another, thereby reducing the spread of the coronavirus and flattening the curve so that health care systems aren't overwhelmed. Stay at home orders ask residents to leave their homes only for essential services like buying food and medicine.

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Together, the state and city populations affected by some kind of stay-at-home order add up to about 160 million people — 49 percent of the U.S. population.

Stay up to date on the fast-changing nature of the coronavirus by visiting the CDC's website and by viewing the latest statistics from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.