The deadly coronavirus has now hit all 50 states in the US as West Virginia reported its first case of the infection on Tuesday.
Announcing West Virginia’s first Covid-19 patient, Governor Jim Justice said: “We knew this was coming.”
New York City said it was considering a lockdown similar to one in the San Francisco Bay area.
There have so far been 108 deaths in the US from coronavirus and more than 6,300 confirmed cases nationwide.
Globally, there are about 200,000 cases and nearly 8,000 people have died.
As the Trump administration seeks a$1trn economic stimulus package, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly warned Republican senators privately on Tuesday evening that if Congress failed to act, US unemployment could hit 20% – almost double the jobless rate during the Great Recession after the 2008 financial crisis.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he would decide within two days whether to order the city’s 8.5 million residents to “shelter in place”.
Such a move could largely confine people to their homes, while allowing them to make necessary trips to buy groceries or medicine, walk a dog or exercise as long as they avoid public interaction.
“It’s a very, very difficult decision,” Mr de Blasio said. “We’ve never been here before. I have never heard of anything like this in the history of New York City.”
Officials in the San Francisco Bay area have already ordered 6.7 million residents to stay home for all but the most crucial outings until 7 April.