The U.S. is bracing for its most difficult week yet in the fight against COVID-19. In an interview with Meet The Press, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned, “The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment. It’s going to be our 9/11 moment. It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives, and we really need to understand that if we want to flatten that curve and get through to the other side, everyone needs to do their part.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest social distancing guidelines recommend all Americans wear cloth face masks when outdoors, a voluntary measure that President Donald Trump said he will not follow. This is in addition to the CDC’s previous directives that Americans maintain a distance of at least six feet from others, do not congregate in groups larger than 10, and wash their hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer frequently. In an effort to make sure Americans continue to practice safe social distancing, the White House’s latest recommendation is that Americans stop going to the grocery store and other similar tasks unless absolutely necessary.
During the White House coronavirus task force briefing on April 4, Dr. Deborah Birx, Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, said, “The next two weeks are extraordinarily important. This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands.”
A day later, Dr. Anthony Fauci, an infectious disease expert on the coronavirus task force, told Face The Nation that there are signs that mitigation is helping stop the spread of COVID-19. “I’m not saying we have it under control,” Fauci said. “That would be a false statement. We are struggling to get it under control.”
It is why the next two weeks are so important in America’s fight against the virus. The next six to seven days is when current COVID-19 hotspots Detroit, New York, and Louisiana are predicted to reach a peak based on data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. New hotspots are reportedly emerging in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., according to the White House. The hope is proper social distancing could help slow the spread in those areas.
Nine states have yet to declare a formal statewide stay-at-home order, which instructs all residents who are not essential workers to stay home. On Face The Nation, Fauci urged those states to take such measures immediately. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, “this virus doesn’t discriminate,” he said. “And sooner or later, you’re going to see a surge of cases.”
That is why Fauci warned viewers that things will get worse before getting better. The number of new cases will soon begin to plateau in states where they have seen an increase in cases, a sign that the U.S. is flattening the curve, but Fauci said “the deaths will lag by…one or two weeks or more.
“This is going to be a bad week. It is going to be shocking to some,” he added. “It certainly is really disturbing to see that, but that’s what’s going to happen before it turns around.”
More than 9,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19, but a report in The New York Times states the current data understates the number of fatalities “as a result of inconsistent protocols, limited resources, and a patchwork of decision-making from one state or county to the next.” The White House projected that at least 100,000 people could die because of the virus.
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29