States and cities are deploying different approaches to combat the virus.
With conflicting messages and a piecemeal approach, we wondered: What is the harsh truth about what Americans need to do to stop the spread of the virus?
We reached out to experts across the country. Here's some of what they told us.
"In the absence of a safe and effective vaccine or widespread testing, there's only one way to stop transmission of SARS-CoV-2: We need to stay home. We need to stay home for a long time. Only essential workers need to go to work. The rest of us need to go out only for the essentials like food and medicine. That is how we can break the chains of transmission."
— Joel Wertheim, assistant professor of medicine, University of California San Diego
"The major thing is this social distancing. It’s not fun and it’s really hard. It's socially hard because you want to see your friends and family, but it might be something we just need to do for a while."
— Dr. Adam Lauring, associate professor, University of Michigan Medical School
"It's very important to minimize the risk to seniors in our population. That means you're not going to go visit your parents now, you're not going to go send your grandchildren off to see them. And you need to prepare: What happens if one of your parents get sick?"
— Dr. Stanley Weiss, New Jersey Medical School, Rutgers University
"Testing would tells us where we are. We are quite behind. Our testing capacity did not ramp up as we would like. We are only playing, trying to put out a fire. We don't see exactly where the fire is. We don’t see how fast it is spreading and in what direction. It's very, very concerning."
— Pinar Keskinocak, Georgia Tech Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems
"A vaccine with exceptional efficacy is the solution. Everything else we do to reduce cases leaves open the possibility of future waves of infection."
— Dr. Myron Cohen, UNC School of Medicine
"In short, what will eventually shut the virus down is a vaccine. Until then, we have non-pharmaceutical interventions such as case tracking, quarantine/isolation, social distancing, etc."
— Dr. James Lawler, University of Nebraska Medical Center