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U.S. has more COVID cases than some countries have people

Caitlin O'Kane

The United States has more coronavirus cases than many countries have people. With over 5 million confirmed cases, more people have been infected in the U.S. than the total population of places like Ireland, New Zealand, Panama, Croatia, Jamaica and numerous other countries. 

The U.S. has had more confirmed cases and more deaths from the virus than any nation in the world, with over 163,000 lives lost in the U.S. (Several other countries had a higher death rate per capita, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.)

California and Florida have each had over half a million cases, while the totals in New York and Texas aren't far behind. However, New York — a major hotspot early in the pandemic — has managed to "flatten the curve" and reduce the spread of the virus, even as numbers keep climbing in many other states.

Cases spiked in Texas and Florida in July, and cases are continuing to rise in at least 11 states. According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Florida, Texas, California, Georgia and Louisiana saw the biggest daily increases on August 9.  

The total number of deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. could hit 300,000 by the end of 2020, according to Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration. 

"We're definitely going to be somewhere between 200,000 and 300,000," Gottlieb said in an interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday. "Whether we're closer to 200,000 or closer to 300,000 depends on what we do and how this evolves."

He said he's concerned that another wave of the pandemic "could start to infect more rural communities that have largely been untouched to date and probably are a little bit more complacent because they have been untouched, but are still very vulnerable because the infection hasn't been there." 

Dr. Deborah Birx, a top White House health adviser, voiced similar concerns last week when she said the virus is has entered a "new phase" and is now "extraordinarily widespread" in rural areas.

Many of the states where the virus is now surging have resisted requiring face masks, even though health experts now believe wearing a mask is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread, along with social distancing and hand-washing. And some states that rushed to reopen later had to reimpose restrictions as cases flared up.

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