It’s been 65 days, a little over two months, since Donald J. Trump sat down with a CNBC reporter and told him he had no concerns about a potential pandemic caused by the coronavirus.

“No. Not at all. And we have it totally under control,” Trump said. “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s—going to be just fine.” 

Much of the American public knows at this juncture that Trump’s efforts to downplay the seriousness of the illness have done nothing to help the virus from spreading. On Thursday, The New York Times, based on gathered data, reported that the United States now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases. The country surpasses both China, where the virus originated, and Italy, which has seen devastating numbers.

As of the time of this publishing, 85,498 people in the United States have been confirmed to have COVID-19. Another 1,313 people have died from the virus. These unfortunate numbers indicate that the United States is now the epicenter of the pandemic. Yet just this week, Trump discussed reopening the economy as early as Easter.

An elderly woman is comforted by a medical professional during the Covid-19 pandemic. The United States now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases. (Photo: Gatty Images)
An elderly woman is comforted by a medical professional during the COVID-19 pandemic. The United States now leads the world in confirmed coronavirus cases. (Photo: Gatty Images)

Missteps along the way have likely contributed to the high number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths. In addition to the White House sending the message that the spread was “totally under control,” the administration focused on closing the border to China, but didn’t actively prepare for the potential threat within the United States. That includes streamlining testing for the virus and procuring personal protective equipment for health care workers.

“This could have been stopped by implementing testing and surveillance much earlier—for example, when the first imported cases were identified,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia University in New York, told The Times.

Though the number of confirmed coronavirus cases is daunting, a number of measures have been enacted to help stem the spread. This week UnitedHealth Group launched an at-home test that will allow people to determine if they have the virus without interacting with health care workers, and a clinical trial for a drug intended to treat COVID-19 patients in New York is now underway.    

ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as for tips on taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.

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