KEY POINTS

  • Only five U.S. states have so far been spared from COVID-19
  • Montana, one of these fortunate five, decided to declare a state of emergency anyway
  • U.S. now has 41 deaths from COVID-19

The premature end to high-profile sports, cultural and entertainment events such as March Madness and the closure of both Disneyland and Universal Studios -- all of which took place Thursday -- is driving home to more Americans the health peril presented by the fast-spreading COVID-19 epidemic in the United States. And, yes, Spring Break is over before it's even begun.

There were 36 U.S. states and Washington D.C. with confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday; that number jumped to 45 on Thursday with the infection of the five remaining states all but a certainty. There were 32 deaths Wednesday. That number rose to 41 Thursday.

There are currently 1,663 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in th U.S. as of 7:40 p.m. Thursday, according to the Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. CSSE lists 128,343 confirmed  global cases of the disease. Of this total, 80,932 are in China. Italy is the second most infected country with 12,462 cases.

Kansas, which had only two COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, said one of these persons died for its first coronavirus death. Gov. Laura Kelly on Thursday announced the state’s first death from the disease. She said the fatality was a male in his 70s who lived in a long-term care facility in Wyandotte County. This death was the 41st in the U.S. from COVID-19.

Despite being one of the only five states without a confirmed COVID-19 case, Montana on Thursday decided to declare a state of emergency to prepare for the inevitable. Gov. Steve Bullock declared the statewide emergency saying, “Our state is preparing for coronavirus to come to Montana and we will be prepared to respond all along the way.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces America's first public drive-through coronavirus testing facility. He said New Rochelle residents who have been quarantined will be tested first.

A medical study published in the medical journal The Lancet details the first known transmission of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 in the United States. It said this person was a woman that traveled from China to Illinois in mid-January. She likely transmitted novel coronavirus to her husband through "prolonged, unprotected contact."

The findings suggest the coronavirus might transmit most easily through extended contact with infected people, not brief or casual exposures.

On Thursday, former President Barack Obama asked people to consider each other as they wonder why so many places are shutting down due to the coronavirus outbreak. He tweeted: "If you’re wondering whether it’s an overreaction to cancel large gatherings and public events (and I love basketball), here’s a useful primer as to why these measures can slow the spread of the virus and save lives. We have to look out for each other."