Public health officials regard nothing happening as a success because that means the measures they put in place worked. Instituted early and followed, stay-at-home orders will significantly slow the spread of an infectious disease. Seattle and San Francisco are examples of the salutary effect of early stay-at-home orders and good compliance. New York has been aggressive with good compliance but unfortunately started just a bit too late to get ahead of the curve in such a densely packed city. But because of their compliance, NYC will have a better outcome than they might otherwise.
Several states have not yet instituted stay-at-home orders. They are all seeing significant increases in case counts. South Dakota now has 1,411 cases, a 250% increase in a week (half of them because of the Smithfield meet processing plant). Iowa has 2,332 cases, an 85% increase in a week. Nebraska has 1,060 cases, a 75% increase in cases in a week. By contrast, Wisconsin, a state with strong leadership, strong stay-at-home orders and strong compliance has 4,460 cases but only has a 35% increase over the same week.
One wonders what will happen to states without strong stay-at-home orders or without good compliance. We will know the answer in about two weeks. My bet is that South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska have many times the number of known cases. They are in the early stage where the infection is spreading but has not yet resulted in all that many hospitalizations and deaths.