Mar 8, 2020 - Health

Surgeon general: U.S. is moving to "mitigation phase" of coronavirus response

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams
Screenshot: CNN's "State of the Union"

Cities around the country should start preparing for more cases of coronavirus and think about canceling large gatherings and closing schools "to prevent more deaths," U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

Why it matters: Adams said the country is moving away from trying to contain the virus to a "mitigation phase," meaning it is now spreading within communities and that people who have no recent travel history are contacting it.

What he's saying:

"Now we're shifting into a mitigation phase, which means that we're helping communities understand, 'You're going to see more cases. Unfortunately, you're going to see more deaths.' But that doesn't mean that we should panic."
— Jerome Adams

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he's concerned about "community spread," which at a certain point makes it logistically difficult to do "contact tracing" and continue to isolate people with the virus.

  • He recommended that the elderly and people with underlying conditions "think twice about getting on a plane, on a long trip, and not only think twice, just don’t get on a cruise ship.” He said people should also start practicing social distancing and avoiding large gatherings.

The big picture: The District of Colombia and at least 31 states have reported at least one case of the virus. Washington, which has been hit the hardest, has reported more than 100 cases and at least 16 deaths from the virus.

Go deeper: What to expect next with the coronavirus

Go deeper