• As of March 16, Johns Hopkins University reports 179,165 confirmed cases in 155 countries, with 7,081 deaths reported.
• While the number of new cases in the PRC has slowed, cases are rapidly increasing globally – with the majority reported in Europe.
The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, with more than 15,000 new cases confirmed on March 16. Almost 180,000 cases have been confirmed globally, with more than 7,000 deaths recorded. In the past 48 hours, nine new countries and territories have reported cases of COVID-19, including seven countries in Africa, one in Europe region and one in the Americas. All of the cases in these new areas are a result of importation—that is, the case was acquired outside of the location of reporting.
As cases continue to rise globally, the majority have occurred outside of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The number of newly confirmed cases in the PRC has dropped to double digits, with only 27 new cases reported as of March 15. During the same time period, 10,955 new cases were reported worldwide.
On March 13, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that Europe is now the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from the PRC. Italy, the country hardest-hit outside of the PRC, has confirmed a total of 27,980 cases. European countries with the highest number of confirmed cases after Italy—Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom—recorded more than 4,000 cases in the last 24 hours.
In the United States, 4,200 cases have been confirmed in 49 states, plus the District of Colombia and three US territories. Experts warn that the number of cases will continue to increase rapidly, as containment measures and contact tracing have failed to prevent community spread of the virus. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the majority of cases are still under investigation, the initial cases were patients who had traveled in China or were passengers on two cruise ships where outbreaks emerged. However, as the pandemic continues, more cases appear to be the result of community spread. Hotspots in the United States are New York (964 cases), Washington (769 cases) and California (486 cases). Of those reported cases, 74 patients have died.
As the number of cases in the United States is expected to increase, authorities are focused on “flattening the curve” by implementing strategies that reduce the number of people sickened with the disease and avoid overburdening the healthcare system. More than a dozen states have closed schools and have banned large-scale events and public gatherings, and are encouraging people to avoid close contact with others, in an effort to slow the spread. Additionally, on March 13 President Donald Trump declared a national emergency, releasing $50 billion in federal resources to support efforts to curb the pandemic nationwide.