Four more states in the U.S. issued stay-at-home orders this week for non-essential workers in a bid to combat the accelerating spread of the deadly and highly contagious novel coronavirus, bringing the total number to 17, where nearly half of the American population resides.
On Monday, Michigan, Indiana, Oregon, and West Virginia became the latest states to implement lockdown measures, the Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
Thirteen other states have reportedly imposed similar restrictions to stem the spread of the coronavirus or COVID-19 — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
Among those states are the top four hardest-hit by the virus — New York (25,665 cases; 210 deaths), New Jersey (2,844 cases; 27 deaths), California (2,240 cases; 41 deaths), and Washington (2,101 cases; 109 deaths), a New York Times tally showed.
Florida (1,401 cases; 17 deaths), which is in the last place among the top five states with the highest number of coronavirus cases, has not imposed any “stay at home” measures.
About 160 million people are living in the 17 states that have reportedly ordered 100 percent of non-essential workforces to “stay at home,” marking “the most extreme measures” in the United States “to date,” the Daily Mail pointed out. That means nearly half of the U.S. population (328 million) is in lockdown.
Daily Mail appears to have miscounted the total number of states with lockdown measures listed in its report, placing the number at 14 in the headline.
The severity of the rules differ state by state, but overall businesses that provide essential goods and services, like grocery stores and pharmacies, are allowed to continue operating.
Some jurisdictions in the United States, particularly New York, have announced that they are ready to impose legal penalties that range from fines to jail time for residents who ignore the anti-coronavirus restrictions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 44,183 cases and 544 deaths across all 50 states, the nation’s capital, and U.S. territories as of noon on Tuesday.
Citing a substantial acceleration in infections, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that the U.S. could potentially become the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, which originated in China.
While some governors in the states that have issued lockdown rules told residents to prepare for weeks of restrictions, it is unclear how long the measures will be in place.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he wanted to open the American economy by Easter before the cure becomes worse than the disease.
The president has noted that the United States could do two things at once — combat the coronavirus while running the economy.