West Virginia, the last state with no confirmed coronavirus infections, lost that status Tuesday when a resident in the Eastern Panhandle region of the state tested positive and deaths from the infectious disease topped 8,000 worldwide and 110 in the United States.
The Center for Disease Control says all 50 states (including Alaska and Hawaii) and the District of Columbia have confirmed cases of the virus and medical experts say the toll is expected to rise quickly, both in cases and deaths.
This country’s first fatal cases offer a preview of the challenges ahead, as Americans battle a disease that has killed thousands of people worldwide. The Washington Post has tracked every known U.S. death and has analyzed data provided by state and local health officials, families of the victims, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of the first 100 reported fatalities, many people appear to have had underlying health conditions, making it harder for their bodies to fight off COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Some had diabetes, kidney failure, hypertension or pulmonary ailments.
Nearly all — about 85 percent — were older than 60, and about 45 percent were older than 80. It’s unclear how some of them contracted the disease, but more than a third were living in residential care facilities when they became ill.
Nations around the world, including the United States, are pledging vast sums to fight the disease.
Nations around the world waged a two-front war on Wednesday: fighting the spread of the virus through ever-tightening restrictions on people’s movements and stabilizing economies severely damaged by those efforts.
The White House is seeking more than one trillion dollars to blunt the financial fallout from the sudden and drastic changes to daily life caused by the coronavirus.
Germany has promised $600 billion to help businesses and individuals. British leaders said they would throw more than $420 billion at the crisis. The European Union promised hundreds of billions to support member states. Leaders in France, Spain, Italy and dozens of other nations have pledged to spend whatever is needed to meet the moment.
Governors and mayors have put restrictions in place to limit gatherings to as little as 10 or less, ordered restaurants to close or limit servings to take out, and told residents to stay home if at all possible.
Some are ordering residents to “shelter in place” usually their homes. North Carolina has required that in the Outer Banks coastal area of the state. San Francisco has a similar order. New York City ordered bars closed as well as restaurants. Retailers like Macys and Nordstrom have closed their stores.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a pandemic on March 11 and says the situation worldwide will get much worse.
“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity — and by the alarming levels of inaction,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
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