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More than 1 million people in the US have tested positive for COVID-19

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A grim milestone for the ongoing pandemic

A lab technician holding a test tube that contains blood... Photo by Robin Utrecht / SOPA Images / LightRocket via Getty Images

The United States has confirmed more than 1 million cases of COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center. Since March, the US has reported more confirmed infections than any other country in the world, although some have raised doubts about the accuracy of China’s official case numbers. The growth in those cases has leveled off over the past two weeks, averaging around 30,000 new cases each day.

A graph of new US cases per day, averaged over the preceding week.
Image: 91-DIVOC

Testing in the US remains scarce, with roughly 5.5 million tests performed since the first confirmed US case on January 20th. The slow pace of testing means current case numbers are almost certainly an undercount, as indicated by a number of recent studies. In April, a random sampling of New Yorkers showed nearly 25 percent had developed antibodies for the virus, suggesting a wide range of untested and asymptomatic cases that would not be represented in official case numbers.

US response to the disease has largely been led by the states in the face of a contradictory and often confrontational response from the federal government. President Trump has announced a variety of abortive federal efforts — at various points promoting an imminent vaccine, a nationwide online testing system, and treatment through internally ingested disinfectants — none of which have yielded results. Trump later clarified that the disinfectant comments were made “sarcastically.”

At times, Trump has also had an antagonistic relationship to social distancing measures designed to limit the spread of the virus. Earlier in April, he called on protestors to “liberate” three states under shelter-in-place orders from Democratic governors in apparent defiance of the White House’s own criteria for when restrictions should be lifted.