March 19, 2020 / Kim Hjelmgaard, and Jim Sergent, USA TODAY
LONDON – Soon, the United States will find out whether it’s likely to be the next South Korea or Italy or even China when it comes to the acceleration of coronavirus cases and deaths.
A data analysis by USA TODAY finds that, two weeks after the U.S. first entered into community transmission on March 3, America’s trajectory is trending toward Italy’s, where circumstances are dire. U.S. officials are sounding the alarm, urging Americans to heed what federal, state and local officials are asking of them in order to curtail the spread and dampen the impact of the virus on the U.S. population.
Although it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions about which countries will ultimately weather the COVID-19 storm best, public health data shows that nations that are so far faring well at suppressing the outbreak’s spread have done so through this combination: easy access to testing, rigorous contact tracing, clear and consistent science-based messaging, and a commitment to studiously abide by quarantines while clamping down on socializing no matter how tempting it may be to stray.
“When you’re on an exponential curve every moment is dangerous,” said Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, in an interview. “This is a particularly critical moment for us to try to bring all the resources and determination of government and the American people to try to get off of it.”