Just as the nation has been warned for over a week, there has been an almost overnight explosion of confirmed COVID-19 patients in the US.
Fox News reported on Monday morning that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 35,000, and the US is now trailing only China and Italy in the number of infections. One week ago, there only 4,500 confirmed cases of the virus nationwide.
Into the storm
Hardest hit areas include New York, which experienced a 37.4 percent increase on Monday to 17,000 cases. Washington state comes in second with 1,996 cases.
Though officials have warned that an increase in testing ability would cause confirmed cases to skyrocket, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned that failing to follow social distancing guidelines is partly to blame for the dramatic increase as well.
Adams appeared on the “TODAY” show on Monday to give an update on the virus, and said that “I want America to understand this week, it’s going to get bad.”
Adams pointed to those that have refused to comply with state and national directives as one of the causes of the exponential spread of the disease. “Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously.”
“Everyone needs to act as if they have the virus right now. So, test or no test, we need you to understand you could be spreading it to someone else. Or you could be getting it from someone else. Stay at home,” Adams reiterated.
Stay at home
Many states are under strict “stay at home” guidelines that encourage individuals to keep to their homes except for the most essential activities such as grocery shopping and outdoor exercise.
Along with these orders comes the closure of most non-essential businesses until further notice. Though public health officials deem the unprecedented measures necessary to “flatten the curve” of infections, there is much unease about the economic impact of extended shutdowns.
Donald Trump appeared to address these concerns on Sunday evening, tweeting that “we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself.” Though no official timeline has been given of when social distancing rules may be eased or lifted, Trump continued, “at the end of the 15 day period, we will make a decision as to which way we want to go!”
Projections about how long strict social distancing precautions will last have ranged from several weeks to several months. The CDC’s initial 15-day “stop the spread” initiative began on March 16th and will expire at the end of the month.
Trump had previously said that the coronavirus crisis could last for months, admitting last week that the problem could persist until July or August.