Down the rabbit hole: America has officially confirmed more COVID-19 cases than China

Workers from a Servpro disaster recovery team wearing protective suits and respirators are given supplies as they line up before entering the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington state, to begin cleaning and disinfecting the facility, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. The nursing home is at the center of the coronavirus outbreak in the northwestern state. (Photo: Click2Houston)

After months of denial, misdirection, inefficient testing mechanisms and a snail-paced reaction that stalled the national response, the United States’ springing into action to tackle the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) might come with dire consequences as the country has surpassed China in the number of confirmed cases.

The situation in the US is quickly reaching critical mass as the industrial superpower struggles to cope, as of Thursday (March 26) at least 82,404 cases have been confirmed. It’s a staggering total as America sees a more than 15,000 caseload increase in the last 24 hours – sending the national tally skyrocketing.

The country has lost 174 patients today alone, bringing the toll to 1,201 coronavirus-related deaths.

New York City has become the new epicentre of the coronavirus, and risks infecting a vast majority of the largest city in the United States by population. By sheer volume, America’s biggest metropolis accounts for over 37,800 positive cases or 45 per cent of the country’s current situation.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tours the labs with Michael Dowling, Dr. Dwayne Breining and Dr. Howard Zucker during a tour of Northwell hospital testing labs at Northwell Health Imaging at Center for Advanced Medicine in North New Hyde Park earlier in March (Photo: Ron Adar, Barcroft Studios for TIME)

According to the latest figures collated by Johns Hopkins University, the US overtook China (81,782 cases) and Italy (80,589)—two of the hardest-hit nations, which in many eyes is a signal of what’s to come.

The grim milestone is in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s earlier prediction that the nation would get back to work ‘pretty quickly’, after 3.3 million layoffs.

Speaking at a White House briefing on Thursday afternoon, Trump opined that large sections of the country weren’t ‘seriously’ affected.

“They have to go back to work, our country has to go back, our country is based on that and I think it’s going to happen pretty quickly. We may take sections of our country, we may take large sections of our country that aren’t so seriously affected, and we may do it that way,” he said.

US President Donald Trump (Photo: The National Standard)

America’s new reality is vastly different from Trump’s hopes as all 50 states, including its overseas territories, have been infected.

In at least 21 states, officials have taken the duty of containment in their own hands, demanding that residents stay in their homes to ease the burden on an already strained and bureaucratic health system.

Just a day earlier, in a last-ditch effort, White House and Senate leaders of both parties finally agreed on a sweeping US$2 trillion stimulus package with measures to address all facets of American life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Whether that plan will come to haunt the American people remains to be seen.