Within just about a week, the once unthinkable happened: The U.S. far surpassed every other country in known cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the recently discovered coronavirus.
It was only in mid-January when the world was looking at China, with only dozens of known cases, as the main threat of the virus -- and as the likely main sufferer of economic woes.
Now with nearly 140,000 known cases, the U.S. is epicenter of the virus, months after failing to implement adequate testing capacity and then racing to catch up in recent weeks.
Far behind the U.S. in number of known infections is Italy, with nearly 98,000 cases, and China, which has apparently largely stopped seeing an increase in cases at under 83,000. Spain is close behind China with nearly 79,000 cases.
Worldwide over 715,000 people are known to be infected.
But the number could be far higher as several U.S. hospitals are still telling patients to self-quarantine if they show symptoms of Covid-19 but not severe complications, such as breathing problems, as many places still lack protective equipment and testing abilities. Also, because of a lag in reporting such data, the current numbers as tallied by Johns Hopkins are not likely an accurate number of total cases.
"We don't have any firm idea" of how many infections the U.S. could see, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on an interview on CNN over the weekend.
"We're going to have millions of cases," Fauci said, adding that deaths could hit around 100,000 or 200,000 according to some models.
Every state has cases and many are seeing rapid increases, such as Michigan and Massachusetts, and others, while Washington, California and New York remain devastated hot spots.
"Our numbers are climbing exponentially," said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on NBC News' "Meet the Press" on Sunday, according to a transcript. "We knew it was a matter of time, not if, Covid-19 would come to Michigan. We took aggressive measures. We've been on the front end of aggressive measures that states have been taking. But we see this astronomical rise. We've got hospitals that are already at capacity."
Gov. Whitmer went on to say what leaders of other states are saying, that they're "running out" of personal protective equipment needed to save the very doctors, nurses and technicians tasked with saving patients.
"We are trying to procure this, in addition to the help we need from the federal government and -- like, Massachusetts, like New York, like California like places, all across the country, were bidding against one another."
States such as Massachusetts -- which is known for its leading hospitals -- are reportedly seeing a spike in the number of health care workers infected with the virus.
Gov. Whitmer went on: "There's not enough ventilators. We need thousands of ventilators in Michigan. There is not enough N-95 masks. We've got nurses who are wearing the same mask from the minute they show up for their long shift to the end of that shift. You know, we've got to slow the spread and that's why, you know, the stay-at-home orders asking people to do their part, — people need to understand the seriousness of this issue. It’s a novel virus with no cure, no vaccine, highly contagious and deadly. No one's immune from this thing. No generation is."