News & Politics

Surgeon General Warns That This Week Will Be 'Our Pearl Harbor' Moment as Virus Deaths Will Spike

Surgeon General Jerome Adams speaks during press briefing with the coronavirus task force, at the White House, Thursday, March 19, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams says the coronavirus outbreak hasn’t reached its peak yet, warning that the coming week will be the “hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives.”

Adams examined the trajectory of the virus in China and Italy and had some grim news for the country.

Fox News:

“Well, it’s tragically fitting that we’re talking at the beginning of Holy Week because this is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” Adams told “Fox News Sunday,” comparing it to historic national tragedies. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”

Adams then explained that despite what has happened in China and Italy, American individuals and government officials “have a power to change the trajectory of this epidemic.”  He pointed to how an aggressive response can mean that an end could be in sight in the coming weeks.

“And so, I want Americans to understand that, 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,” he said, referring specifically to Washington and California, which have seen improvements.

There’s nothing for it but to maintain social distancing and keep businesses closed.

“[I]t’s why we put out these thirty days to stop the spread guidelines. These are essentially our national stay-at-home order,” Adams said. “And we’re working with governors to figure out their needs, their desires.”

Adams said that for those in the nine states without orders, for people who cannot stay home for the entire month, they should “give us what you can so we can get this peak and start to come down on the other side.”

Yesterday, there were 636 deaths reported — the largest daily toll so far. Expect that trend to continue every day for at least the next two weeks.

Governor Cuomo of New York reports that the state is testing treatments and a vaccine.


He said doctors in New York are working with the Food and Drug Administration. Some of the treatments that are being tested are the use of plasma, antibody treatment and the use of hydroxychloroquine.

Cuomo also said they are testing a rapid testing programs which could play a part in protecting vulnerable populations and getting people back to work.

The White House is now discussing how best to reopen the economy safely, and that may include using a rapid testing program to certify workers are virus-free. At the very least, a rapid testing program will make it easier to identify and track the disease through vulnerable populations and allow states and the federal government to direct resources to where they’re most needed.