CLOSE Social distancing matters. Here is how to do it and how it can help curb the COVID-19 pandemic. USA TODAYI’m USA TODAY editor-in-chief Nicole Carroll, and this is The Backstory, insights into our biggest stories of the week. If you’d like to get The Backstory in your inbox every week, sign up here.”When you’re on an exponential curve every moment is dangerous,” National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins told USA TODAY. “This is a particularly critical moment for us…”That’s exactly what our reporting shows. London-based reporter Kim Hjelmgaard and graphic journalist Jim Sergent analyzed reported coronavirus cases by country, starting when each country reached 100 cases, a sign of community spread. What they found: “America’s trajectory is trending toward Italy’s, where circumstances are dire. U.S. officials are sounding the alarm, urging Americans to heed what federal, state and local officials are asking of them in order to curtail the spread and dampen the impact of the virus on the U.S. population.”What makes this more alarming: Italy’s death count surpassed China’s midday Thursday. You have questions and need accurate, science-based answers. Journalists in 261 newsrooms are collaborating to bring you news from all 50 states – as safely as possible for themselves and their communities.New York is leading in cases. What about

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