President Donald Trump has been providing regular updates regarding how his administration has been addressing the coronavirus pandemic. Members of his cabinet are speaking out as well, and they include Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams.
During a recent television appearance, Adams stressed the stakes that Americans face along with the critical measures that they need to take.
Time to make a choice
“We are at a critical inflection point in our country,” Adams cautioned the hosts of “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, adding that mortality rates in the United States are comparable to Italy’s numbers from two weeks ago.
“We have a choice to make as a nation,” he went on. “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?”
As of Tuesday afternoon, 2,158 Italians had died of coronavirus, whereas the death toll in South Korea stood at a mere 81.
Italy was criticized for doing too little to halt the disease’s spread in the pandemic’s early stages, and its government has now resorted to regional lock-downs enforced by military personnel.
Italy vs. South Korea
The Italian health care system has been utterly overwhelmed, with the UK’s Independent reporting that under new care rationing guidelines, those over 80 years of age may be left to fend for themselves.
“The criteria for access to intensive therapy in cases of emergency must include age of less than 80 or a score on the Charlson comorbidity index [which indicates how many other medical conditions the patient has] of less than 5,” it quoted a government document as saying.
In contrast, South Korea has been widely praised for its relative success in battling the pandemic, with many lauding the country’s use of aggressive testing measures and the promotion of social distancing.
The South Korean level of success is one that Adams hopes America can emulate, and he laid out the strategies for doing so.
“There’s every hope that we can be South Korea if people actually listened,” Adams explained, stressing that, “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 also warned that these were not simply measures needed in the short term. Rather, he expected that at least 6 to 8 weeks of stepped-up precautions would be needed to get matters under control.