Health officials said Americans should prepare for the worst days ahead, as the U.S. increasingly becomes the center of the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 1.2 million people globally, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The world’s newly reported cases of coronavirus jumped by more than 100,000 in a day for the first time. The U.S. added more than 33,000 cases, pushing the total number of reported infections in the country above 312,000 as of early Sunday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 8,500 people in the U.S. have died from Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus.
Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Fox News that the next week would be “the hardest and saddest week of most Americans’ lives,” comparing the suffering to the devastation from Pearl Harbor or the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Americans should stay at home for the next 30 days, he said. Still, he supported the authority of governors to make their own decisions about closing up their economies.
Models show infections could peak in New York, Detroit and New Orleans in the next six to seven days, coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said late Saturday.
“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important,” Dr. Birx said at a White House news briefing Saturday evening. “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.”
Dr. Birx said officials are closely monitoring an uptick in cases in Pennsylvania, Colorado and Washington, D.C., and are hopeful that social distancing in those places could prevent them from seeing the same level of spread as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and part of Rhode Island are having.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that if Americans follow their orders to stay home and observe other safe behaviors, the number of new cases will start to stabilize.