Washington and California were early coronavirus hotspots. New York raced past them.
The earliest significant confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States were in Washington state and California. Washington reported the first case nationally in late January and the first death from covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, at the end of February. Days earlier, California reported the first case of community transmission; that is, the first case not directly linked to travel to China, where the virus first emerged.For weeks, those regions defined the outbreak. The spread of the virus at a nursing home in Washington led to dozens of deaths, pushing early mortality figures upward. California took strong measures to halt the spread of the virus earlier than other places, including issuing a shelter-in-place order for a number of counties near San Francisco before such orders were commonplace.But a surge in New York quickly pushed the total number of confirmed cases in that state past both Washington and California.The number of cases in New York, most of them in New York City, quickly dwarfed case totals in the other two states. There have been more confirmed cases in New York than anywhere in the world except China, Italy and Spain. (It’s likely that China is underreporting