'Act like you have the virus’: US surgeon general says 15-day lockdown won’t be enough as coronavirus cases rise

'If we can get America to pitch in for the next 15 days, we can flatten the curve,' Dr Jerome Adams says

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Wednesday 18 March 2020 19:52
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US surgeon general explains 15-day lockdown to stop Covid-19 spread

The US surgeon general has warned a 15-day lockdown nationwide will not be enough to stop the spread of Covid-19, as cases top 7,000.

“We should be acting as if we have the virus,” US Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams said on NBC’s Today, adding that the mentality goes whether one tests positive or nor for the novel virus.

“Fifteen days is likely not going to be enough to get us all the way through. But we really need to lean into it now so that we can bend the curve in the next 15 days, and at that point we’ll reassess,” he added.

All Americans were encouraged to “pitch in” to combat the spread.

“If we can get America to pitch in for the next 15 days, we can flatten the curve,” Dr Adams said.

His admission comes after the Trump administration put recommendations in place on Monday to encourage residents across the US to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

One measure urged Americans to avoid social gatherings of 10 people or more for the next two weeks.

“We want them to avoid gatherings of 10 or more, unnecessary travel, work from home if at all possible,” he said.

The US has looked at the coronavirus response from countries like Italy, China, and South Korea to determine the proper steps Americans should take to combat the spread.

In Italy, the country is seeing a rapid increase of both confirmed cases and deaths while both China and South Korea have reportedly slowed the spread of the virus.

“When we look at the data, our numbers are where Italy’s were two to three weeks ago,” Dr Adams said. “Do we want to go the way of Italy or do we want to go the way of South Korea and China who were actually able to level off the peak and decrease the numbers.”

The aggressive approach of mandating people stay at home could help the US look more like South Korea in the coming weeks. South Korea issued rules for its residents to stay at home early into the virus spread.

“We want people to understand; chances are you don’t have it and chances are if you do have it you will recover,” Dr Adams said. “But what we don’t want to do is to have you or anyone else out there spreading it.”

Federal and state health officials confirmed on Wednesday the number of cases in the US rose to over 7,000 people. Of those cases, 117 people have died from the virus.

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