U.S. Hits 5 Million Coronavirus Cases As Debate Lingers Over The Path Forward

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The U.S. has hit 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases — just 17 days after crossing the 4 million mark — as lawmakers and states continue to grapple with how to chart a path back to normal as the pandmic continues to rage on.

The grim milestone was reached on Sunday, according to tracking by Johns Hopkins University. It came after President Trump announced Saturday he would take executive action to extend coronavirus relief efforts that expired after negotiations with Congress stalled out.

The last time the country surpassed a million new cases many states had been seeing record surges of new infections, including California, Florida and Texas. An NPR analysis shows that cases in at least 33 states were on the decline last week.

But current figures do not offer a full picture of the crisis. Two states that reported declines saw recent interruptions to testing efforts. In California, where COVID-19-related deaths stand at more than 10,000, state health authorities say a technical glitch caused under-reporting of test results. In Florida, state officials closed down testing sites in multiple counties in preparation for Hurricane Isaias.

The U.S. continues to lead the world in deaths from the coronavirus. With more than 162,400 deaths, the U.S. accounts for roughly 22% of global deaths from COVID-19.

Brazil, the country with the second most cases, is currently at just over 3 million cases and more than 100,000 deaths.

Back in the U.S., states continue weighing their options for the academic year. On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said schools throughout his state will be allowed to resume in-person learning for the upcoming school year.

Pien Huang contributed to this report.

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