The United States now has more confirmed coronavirus cases than Italy and China, making it the country with the largest outbreak in the world.

The total number of cases in the U.S. reached 82,404 Thursday evening, eclipsing China’s 81,782 cases and Italy’s 80,589, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The virus emerged in Wuhan, China, in December. It has since spread to more than half a million people in almost every country around the world and continues to pick up speed, the World Health Organization warned earlier this week.

“The pandemic is accelerating,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday at a press briefing from the organization’s Geneva headquarters. “It took 67 days from the first reported case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for second 100,000 cases, and just four days for the third 100,000 cases.”

Confirmed U.S. cases passed 5,000 last week. At the beginning of the month, there were roughly 100 confirmed cases in the U.S.

The number of confirmed cases likely underestimates the true number of infections across the country, officials have acknowledged. Testing in the U.S. has been hampered by delays and a restrictive diagnostic criteria that limits who can get tested. 

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People wearing masks walk past a temperature screening area at Terminal 1 of Changi Airport on March 22, 2020 in Singapore. Singapore is one nation that has launched an app to help track the spread of the coronavirus.

Ore Huiying | Getty Images

From Israel to South Korea to China, governments around the world are using technology to track the coronavirus outbreak as they race to stem its spread. But how long will it last and is this an infringement of privacy, rights groups have asked.

In China, government-installed CCTV cameras point at the apartment door of those under a 14-day quarantine to ensure they don’t leave. Drones tell people to wear their masks. Digital barcodes on mobile apps highlight the health status of individuals. 

These are just some of the ways the world’s second-largest economy has mobilized its surveillance apparatus to help contain the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

Private individuals who live in China have either provided photographic evidence, or told CNBC in interviews, of the CCTV equipment being installed in front of their homes to enforce quarantines. Those individuals did not wish to be identified by name for this article.

While some of China’s measures appear extreme,

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On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law. Kaiser Health News chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner talks to NPR’s Ari Shapiro about how the ACA has changed health care in America over the past decade and also how the coronavirus pandemic ultimately may change the still embattled law. Kaiser Family Foundation Executive Vice President Larry Levitt also marked the anniversary of the law, discussing with Noel King, on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” how the law led to 20 million Americans gaining health insurance.

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[UPDATED on March 21]

Rural hospitals may not be able to keep their doors open as the coronavirus pandemic saps their cash, their CEOs warn, just as communities most need them.

As the coronavirus sweeps across the United States, all hospitals are facing cancellations of doctor visits and procedures by a terrified populace — profitable services that usually help fund hospitals. Meanwhile, the institutions also find themselves needing to pay higher prices for personal protective equipment such as face masks and other gear that’s in short supply. Vice President Mike Pence called on hospitals nationwide Wednesday to delay elective surgeries to free up capacity and resources for future coronavirus patients.

The American Hospital Association responded Thursday by asking Congress for $100 billion for all hospitals to offset coronavirus costs, citing rural hospitals’ inability to withstand huge losses for long.

“If we’re not able to address the short-term cash needs of rural hospitals, we’re going to see hundreds of rural hospitals close before this crisis ends,” warned Alan Morgan, the head of the National Rural Health Association, which represents 21,000 health care providers

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. ― A much-needed drive-thru coronavirus testing site opened here Monday, just a few miles from the Mar-a-Lago Club, home to the country’s most high-profile COVID-19 exposure. A week ago, President Donald Trump and a few top aides hosted a festive dinner with Brazilian officials, some later found to be ill with the novel coronavirus.

Despite repeated assertions from White House officials that tests will soon be available to anyone who wants them, residents here found the reality much different. Of the 6,000 people who called for an appointment and hundreds who drove up on Monday, just 65 were able to get tested. Testing officials said they had 80 test kits left for future patients and announced Tuesday they would not take any more appointments.

What’s more, contrary to experts saying that tests would be restricted to those who need it, among those who managed to get the test was at least one worried well person without symptoms and without an increased risk of exposure.

Jay Wolfson, a professor of public health at the University of South Florida in Tampa, said he sees the “potential irony” of communities close to Trump’s home struggling to meet testing demands

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