Three months ago Tuesday, the U.S. confirmed the nation’s first case of what was then called the “novel” coronavirus – a Washington state man in his 30s who had recently returned from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of a seemingly distant illness that had killed six people.
“What’s transpired since then has really gone beyond what anyone could imagine,” said Dr. Jay Cook, chief medical officer at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, which received the first patient. “And the story’s still playing out.”
Now, there are almost 2.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide, and the U.S. is reporting more cases than any other country. Lives have been turned upside down – particularly among communities disproportionately impacted by the outbreak – and more than 40,000 in the U.S. have died.
About 14% of the U.S. workforce has filed for unemployment. Thousands of small businesses are on the brink. Gas is selling for under $1 a gallon in more than a dozen states. And President Donald Trump has signed the largest stimulus package in U.S. history.