Apr 5, 2020 - Health

Surgeon general: This week will be "Pearl Harbor" or "9/11 moment" in U.S.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on "Fox News Sunday" that the next week will be "the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment" — as the projected death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surges.

Why it matters: Unlike those tragedies, Adams emphasized that the direct effects of the coronavirus will not be "localized" and that it will be happening "all over the country." But he also stressed that the public has the "power to change the trajectory of this epidemic" by following social distancing and other public health guidelines.

  • He pointed to Washington and California, which started out as the epicenters of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S., as evidence that aggressive mitigation measures can have a significant impact on the trajectory of the virus' spread.
  • "As hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel if everyone does their part for the next 30 days," Adams said.

The big picture: Multiple states around the country are expected to reach their peak number of cases during the next two weeks, Axios' Caitlin Owens reports.

  • The peak number of cases could strain medical resources and facilities, which may produce hospital bed and ventilator shortages and take a toll on health care workers.
  • The U.S. had more than 312,000 confirmed cases and at least 8,503 deaths from the virus as of Sunday morning, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Go deeper: Louisiana governor says state will run out of ventilators on April 9

Go deeper