The U.S. is nearing a grim milestone in its fight against the coronavirus, as the number of confirmed cases closes in on the 10,000 mark. As of Thursday morning, officials reported more than 9,400 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 viral disease — and some 150 deaths.
Patients have been reported in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, though as yet the cases remain concentrated in a handful of states.
In recent days, the outbreak in New York state has surpassed those in California and Washington state. New York is reporting more than 3,000 confirmed cases. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in comments to reporters Wednesday, said a U.S. Navy hospital ship — the USNS Comfort — is preparing to deploy to New York Harbor to support medical centers in New York City that are now facing an influx of patients.
"The president and I agreed we're fighting the same war and we're in the same trench," Cuomo said, "and his actions indicated that he is doing that."
Meanwhile, efforts across the country to stem the virus's spread — including the closure of bars and restaurants in certain states, "shelter in place" orders in others, and would-be travelers' decisions to simply stay home — are taking a toll on workers across the country.
The U.S. Labor Department announced Thursday that some 281,000 people applied for jobless benefits last week — the highest level since Sept. 2, 2017, when they hit 299,000.