Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued Sunday perhaps his most dire warning yet amid the coronavirus pandemic — predicting the disease’s toll on Americans in the coming week would amount to a nationalized version of historic tragedies such as the strike on Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Adams told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace it was fitting that he was being interviewed on Palm Sunday, at the beginning of Christanity’s “Holy Week,” because “this is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly.”
The nation’s top doctor has made similarly somber proclamations at other moments during the ongoing pubic health crisis, telling NBC’s “Today” show two weeks ago: “I want America to understand, this week, it’s going to get bad.”
But Adams’ remarks Sunday represented an escalated version of even his most ominous rhetoric, and they echoed other alarming statements from senior administration officials regarding the intensifying fight against the deadly outbreak in the United States.
“This will be probably the toughest week, between this week and next week. And there will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” President Donald Trump told reporters Saturday at the White House coronavirus task force daily press briefing.
Those bleak assessments came after the administration projected Tuesday that 100,000 to 240,000 Americans could die from Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, even if the federal government’s social-distancing guidelines are strictly followed in the weeks ahead.
But the country’s top infectious disease expert also reported that the administration’s recommended mitigation measures could begin to yield results and prompt a “flattening out of the curve” of infections “within a week, maybe a little bit more.”
“So on the one hand, things are going to get bad, and we need to be prepared for that,” Fauci said. “It is going to be shocking to some. It certainly is really disturbing to see that. But that’s what’s going to happen before it turns around.”
More than 8,500 Americans have already died as a result of the illness as of Sunday morning, and the total number of confirmed Covid-19 infections in the U.S. has surged beyond 312,000 — although experts agree the actual number of those sickened is likely much greater because of limited testing capacity.