Coronavirus: US warned to brace for ‘saddest week’

Coronavirus: US warned to brace for ‘saddest week’

The US surgeon general has braced the country for the worsening fallout from coronavirus, warning “this is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives”.

The number of people infected in the US has exceeded 300,000, with the death toll climbing past 8,400.

More than 3,500 of those deaths are in the state of New York.

Much of the country is under orders to stay home, and federal officials said they have seen signs that people are listening to the message about social distancing.

This is going to be our Pearl Harbour moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localised

But the Trump administration is also emphasising that the worst is yet to come for many communities.

Surgeon general Jerome Adams told Fox News Sunday: “This is going to be our Pearl Harbour moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localised.”

He added: “It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that.”

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as a fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the coming week is “going to be shocking to some”.

Dr Anthony Fauci (Alex Brandon/AP)
Dr Anthony Fauci (Alex Brandon/AP)

“But that’s what is going to happen before it turns around, so just buckle down,” Dr Fauci said on CBS’s Face The Nation.

He said the rate of new cases will determine whether the United States is putting the worst behind it.

“We’ve seen that in Italy,” Dr Fauci said.

“We’re going to hopefully be seeing that in New York very soon and that’s the first sign of that plateau and coming down.”

Dr Fauci also warned that unless the world gets the virus under control, it will “assume a seasonal nature”.

“We need to be prepared that, since it unlikely will be completely eradicated from the planet, that as we get into next season, we may see the beginning of a resurgence,” Dr Fauci said.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“That’s the reason why we’re pushing so hard in getting our preparedness much better than it was.”

While most states have adopted restrictions on people’s movement, a few states have declined to order residents to stay home.

Mr Adams was asked on NBC’s Meet The Press if they should join the rest of the country.

“Ninety percent of Americans are doing their part, even in the states where they haven’t had a shelter in place,” he said.

“But if you can’t give us 30 days, governors, give us a week, give us what you can, so that we don’t overwhelm our healthcare systems over this next week.”

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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