Worldwide total confirmed cases: 2,063,161
Total deaths: 136,938
U.S. total confirmed cases: 638,111
Confirmed U.S. deaths: 30,844
SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as of 11:35 p.m. ET Wednesday
President Trump is promising to deliver on Thursday guidelines to "reopen" America. He said some states would open even before May 1. That's two weeks away.
Without citing evidence, he claimed at the White House coronavirus task force briefing Wednesday that the U.S. is past its peak on new coronavirus cases. That's likely premature. While the total number of cases may be slowing, it's not true for all parts of the country. And because there are so many cases in New York, the beginning of a decline there is skewing the curve. What's more, the total number of cases continues to rise.
The danger is if the country moves to shedding social distancing and stay-at-home orders too quickly, there likely would be another spike. What's more, testing is still not widespread enough to have a whole picture of who has the virus and who doesn't.
Wednesday briefing in brief
In case you missed it, here are highlights from the White House coronavirus task force's daily briefing:
Countries' economies are organized into three categories — developed, transitioning and developing. The U.S. is the wealthiest country on Earth and is firmly in the developed category. The U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, lists developing countries. The U.S. is not on it.
Quote of the briefing:
"I'm sure people will be very happy to get a big, fat, beautiful check and my name is on it." — Trump, after claiming he has no idea why his name is on stimulus checks that are going out
Other key coronavirus stories:
Antibody Tests For Coronavirus Can Miss The Mark: The state of antibody testing comes under examination as Americans wait for easier access and accurate results.
'We Alerted The World' To Coronavirus On Jan. 5, WHO Says In Response To U.S.: The World Health Organization defends its role in sounding the alarm about COVID-19, following President Trump's decision to halt its federal funding.
Where Did This Coronavirus Originate? Virus Hunters Find Genetic Clues In Bats: Catch up on the latest episode of NPR's science podcast Short Wave for a deep dive into how COVID-19 may have first begun.
What to watch today:
Go deeper: past the peak?
Trump said the United States has passed its peak in new COVID-19 cases. He also cited declines in large cities significantly affected by the virus. "The battle continues, but the data suggests that nationwide, we have passed the peak on new cases," Trump claimed. "Hopefully that will continue and we will continue to make great progress."
The data, though, is mixed. While the number of daily cases overall nationally appears to have started to decrease, the total cases continue to rise.
The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows a drop in new cases nationally starting April 10, followed by an uptick, though not back up to the high of April 10. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not firmly indicated a decline longer than one day on April 3. That said, both trackers indicate that national cumulative totals continue to rise.
The United States is projected to have already peaked in daily death rates and hospital supplies when looking at models from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Specifically, the highest number of deaths occurred on April 13, the team predicts, and hospital resources (beds and ventilators) were most heavily utilized on April 10.
Trump cited the decline in new cases in the New York City metropolitan area — one of the hardest-hit places in the country. The area has seen a drop in its number of total cases since April 6, according to the New York City Department of Health. Though, like the CDC, the city's department of health warns that recent data is incomplete because of reporting delays. Looking at the IHME model for the state, April 10 may have been the peak for deaths per day for New York. Looking at STAT's info, the number of new cases rose in the state on April 15.
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