Testing for the virus in the United States was slow to implement as the original testing kits from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) were found to be defective. As of March 14, all 50 states were able to test for the disease, but the number of test kits available are still very limited. This has made it difficult to accurately estimate the true number of cases of COVID-19 in the United States. The latest figures from the CDC report there have been 186,101 cases in the U.S., however 181,863 of these cases were still under investigation. The overall government response has also been criticized with many pointing to contradictory statements from the White House on the seriousness of the outbreak and the general unpreparedness of the U.S., despite earlier warnings that the U.S. was ill-equipped to handle such a scenario.
However, the United States government and many states have taken drastic measures to curb the spread of the virus. Major public events have been cancelled, film releases postponed, several sports leagues, including the NBA and NHL, have suspended their seasons, and starting from March 13, foreign nationals from the European Union’s Schengen area are forbidden from entering the United States for 30 days. Many states have ordered full shutdowns, ordering the closure of bars and restaurants, banning public gatherings, closing schools, and requiring residents to stay at home unless absolutely necessary. Despite these strict measures, on March 31, the White House's coronavirus task force said between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans could die due to COVID-19. To highlight the rapid spread of the disease in the U.S., just 20 days earlier a survey found that around 87 percent of U.S. adults believed that less than 10,000 Americans would die over the next year due to COVID-19.
As events are cancelled, businesses temporarily closed, and people encouraged to work from home, there has been increasing attention paid to the potential economic impacts of the pandemic. One of the hardest hit industries is the travel industry, where year-over-year sales for airlines, cruise lines, hotels, online travel agencies, and rental cars have all declined. Statista estimates that the travel and tourism industry in the United States could see a decrease of up to around 15 billion U.S. dollars from 2019 to 2020 due to the pandemic. The pandemic has already caused drops in stocks and raised fears of a recession in the U.S., however it is difficult to tell what lasting impact the pandemic will have on the economy.
For further information about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, please visit our dedicated Facts and Figures page.