It began in China and rapidly spread to Europe, but now the World Health Organization says the United States is potentially poised to become the next epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
Reuters reports that the WHO has seen a massive spike in new cases in the U.S., leading to concerns that the intensity and scope in the country may continue to expand even as other countries are seeing a reduction in cases of COVID-19.
The WHO reports that in the past 24 hours, 85 percent of all new cases of the novel coronavirus have been in the U.S. and Europe, with a “very large acceleration” in infections in the U.S., which accounted for 40 percent of new cases.
WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris was asked by reporters if these numbers meant a shift to the U.S. as the new primary area to watch.
“We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the U.S. So it does have that potential,” she responded. “They (the United States) have a very large outbreak and an outbreak that is increasing in intensity.”
The most recent numbers reported by WorldOMeter show that the global outbreak continues to accelerate, with 396,236 cases worldwide and over 17,000 deaths. Of those cases, over 12,000 – about 4 percent – are reported as critical or serious cases.
In the U.S., there are currently 46,285 cases, the third highest total in the world. This is after a recent increase of 2,551 positive cases in one day.
Amid reports that the Trump administration is considering pushing tBo relax social distancing guidelines recommended to help slow the spread of the virus, the surgeon general has warned that people need to take the outbreak seriously.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Dr. Jerome Adams warned people to act as though they had the virus, even if they didn’t, in order to help avoid infecting those who are immunocompromised or elderly.
“We don’t want Dallas or New Orleans or Chicago to turn into the next New York,” Adams said in an interview with Today. “It means everyone needs to be taking the right steps right now.”
Adams’ warning echoes that of the WHO, and he says that he expects things to get worse before they get better.
“I want America to understand this week it’s going to get bad,” he warned.
“Every single day counts, every single second counts, and right now there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously,” he added.