Political News

One nation, under coronavirus: How two weeks changed America

Posted March 28, 2020 6:56 a.m. EDT
Updated March 28, 2020 7:22 a.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump announced a 15-day plan on March 16 to "slow the spread" of the coronavirus pandemic that has turned the country upside down.

Early next week, those 15 days will be up. Trump has said he wants to ease restrictions on the public and start opening up the country, against the advice of public health authorities.

The disease is still spreading, with thousands of new cases and deaths despite the efforts to "flatten the curve." The toll of social distancing can be measured in millions of new jobless claims, a $2 trillion stimulus bill, and a modest bump to Trump's approval ratings.

Here's a breakdown of the numbers that defined these two unprecedented weeks in America.

The US is No. 1

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the US skyrocketed, and the US overtook China to become the country with the most confirmed cases in the world.

The US death toll has passed 1,500 and is expected to rise further as hospitals grapple with equipment shortages.

At the same time, the US significantly ramped up testing, a key element of the strategy to wipe out the virus. But the US still lags behind other nations in tests conducted per person.

Economy on the brink

A record number of Americans filed new jobless claims, a reflection of the economic distress created by closures associated with emergency measures to contain the virus. These latest figures from the Labor Department only account for the first week of Trump's two-week plan.

These past two weeks were a roller coaster on Wall Street. First, there was massive selloff, followed by a rebound that made up for some of the losses after Congress moved ahead with a historic $2 trillion relief package. But even with the gains, the markets aren't looking great: The Dow Jones Industrial Average has lost 24% of its value this year.

One nation, under coronavirus

As the virus spread, state and local officials ordered residents to stay at home. More than 204 million Americans are living under these unprecedented restrictions, according to a CNN analysis.

As schools closed across the country, millions of students were also stuck at home -- and millions of parents suddenly turned into stand-in schoolteachers.

Major moves in Washington

Congress snapped into action and passed two historic bills to deal with the public health crisis and economic meltdown, including a $2 trillion stimulus that Trump signed into law on Friday.

Trump held near-daily press conferences at the White House and cast himself as a "wartime president" who was leading the nation to safety -- and his approval rating ticked up slightly.

But his public comments were also filled with falsehoods and misleading claims about the coronavirus and the response.

The virus is everywhere now

Cases have been diagnosed in all 50 states.

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