The U.S. now has more cases than China and Italy with 81,578 confirmed cases as of Thursday afternoon

By Ashley Boucher
March 26, 2020
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The United States has now surpassed both China and Italy in confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), making it the country with the most cases of the contagious respiratory virus in the world.

According to data from The New York Times, the U.S. has 81,578 confirmed cases, with 1,180 deaths due to coronavirus-related illness, as of Thursday afternoon.

Credit: Getty Images

Meanwhile, China has 81,285 confirmed cases, while Italy has 80,539, according to the Times. However, Italy leads the world in deaths from the virus with 8,165.

The majority of the cases in the U.S. are in New York, which has 37,258 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 387 deaths.

New York City hospitals are struggling to manage the high volume of cases and are in desperate need for medical supplies like masks and ventilators.

Medical workers outside at Elmhurst Hospital Center in the Queens borough of New York City
| Credit: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that he expects the need for 140,000 hospital beds at the peak of the state’s crisis — which is more than double the current capacity, according to NBC New York.

Wednesday was the deadliest day in terms of coronavirus fatalities in the U.S. with a total of 223 deaths on that day alone, compared to 164 on Tuesday, according to CNN.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, in December, the deadly virus has quickly spread worldwide, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency, and later, a global pandemic.

The first case in the U.S. was confirmed in Everett, Washington, in late January in a patient who had recently returned from Wuhan, one of China’s largest transportation hubs. The first reported death in the U.S. from coronavirus-related illness came about a month later on Feb. 29, a woman from Washington state in her 50s with pre-existing health conditions.

Washington state now has the fifth-most cases in the U.S. with 2,649 confirmed cases and 134 deaths, according to the Times.

Several states, including New York, California, Illinois, and Washington have issued stay-at-home orders in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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This article originally appeared on People.com