WASHINGTON — The global tally of people infected with the coronavirus has surpassed 15 million Wednesday, while in the worst-hit pandemic hot spot of the United States, President Donald Trump warned the pandemic would “get worse before it gets better.”
There are more than 617,000 killed from the virus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. has continued to see large outbreaks and a national death toll of 142,350 people.
New York, once by far the leader in infections, has now been surpassed by the country's most populous state, California, for the number of cases, although that is partly due to robust testing in a state with more than twice the population of New York. California had more than 409,300 infections, while New York had 408,800 according to the Johns Hopkins count.
“The tragedy of what we are witnessing is that many of our younger residents are interacting with each other and not adhering to the recommended prevention measures, while our older residents continue to experience the results of this increased spread with the worst health outcomes, including death," Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
Los Angeles County, the nation's most populous with 10 million residents, reported that younger people were driving the spread of new infections.
“We’re doing all we can to make sure that we control the rate of spread, despite crossing 400,000 cases in California,” state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday. “In the end, I really expect and hope California is going to be the state that adapted the most, learned the most and prepared the best.”
The first confirmed case of the virus in the U.S. was discovered six months ago, on January 21. The infected individual was a man in his 30s from Washington state.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
The U.S. has taken steps to slow the spread of COVID-19, like closing down schools and businesses, and encouraging Americans to stay inside, social distance and wear a mask. However, businesses began to reopen and cases have started to resurge in Southern and Western states this summer.