Surgeon general on coronavirus: US could become as bad as Italy
The coronavirus outbreak in the US may be on track to reach the same levels as Italy if people are not serious about social-distancing, the U.S. surgeon general warned Monday.
Dr. Jerome Adams told Fox News that the current number of cases in the nation are comparable to what disease-stricken Italy notched two weeks ago — a sign that infections are expected to rise in America.
“We are at a critical inflection point in this country, people,” Adams said. “When you look at the projections, there’s every chance that we could be Italy.”
There were an estimated 1,700 cases of coronavirus and 34 deaths in Italy two weeks ago. Now, Italy is reporting an estimated 27,000 cases and more than 2,100 deaths.
The US has recorded about 3,800 cases and at least 66 people have died, two-thirds of them in hard-hit Washington state.
Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe and the first to impose a nationwide lockdown.
Reaching Italy’s infection total could be avoided if people listen to government officials’ advice to socially distance themselves and follow “basic public health measures,” Adams said.
“We have a choice to make as a nation: Do we want to go the direction of South Korea and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates, or do we want to go the direction of Italy?” he said.
South Korea has instituted strict punishments for those who break self-isolation. The virus has infected about 1,770 people in the Asian country, and 75 have died.
“There’s every hope that we can be South Korea if people actually listened, if people actually were socially distanced, if people do the basic public health measures that we have been talking about all along, such as washing your hands, such as covering your cough and cleaning surfaces,” Adams said.
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