Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned the nation Monday morning that there’s “every chance we could be Italy” if people do not start listening to local and federal government guidelines on social distancing issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are where Italy was two weeks ago in terms of our numbers, and we have a choice to make as a nation. Do we want to go the direction of South Korea and be really aggressive and lower our mortality rates, or do we want to go the direction of Italy?” Adams said to Fox News. “When you look at the projections, there’s every chance that we could be Italy, but there’s every hope South Korea if people actually listen, if people actually social distance.”
Italy has been overwhelmed by coronavirus deaths and initiated a mandatory national quarantine earlier in March to try to slow the outbreak. It broke the single-day record for coronavirus deaths, reportedly suffering 368 new deaths in 24 hours over the weekend.
On Sunday evening, multiple states moved to shut down restaurants, bars, and other local gathering places to stop the spread of coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued new guidance strongly urging against any social gatherings with more than 50 people and stressed Americans to simply stay home apart from essential travel for work and to buy groceries. (RELATED: Here’s What Every State In America Is Doing To Combat The Spread Of The Coronavirus)
“What we are seeing now is that these state and local health departments are saying, ‘give us guidance. Give us more cover, we want you to come in and tell us what we should be doing to protect ourselves,'” Adams added of the new guidance. “This is an unprecedented situation, so we are seeing unprecedented things happen such as the presidential declaration, such as the CDC saying, ‘look pull down these large gatherings over the next 8 weeks.'”
The White House is set Monday morning to issue additional “recommendations for the public” on social distancing. Vice President Mike Pence and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told reporters at Sunday’s coronavirus press briefing that the new guidance could resemble what many states and European countries are already implementing.
The White House National Security Council shot down rumors Sunday that President Donald Trump will initiate a mandated 2-week quarantine.
— NSC (@WHNSC) March 16, 2020
Screenshots of text messages making that claim circulated Twitter Sunday night.