The US has currently the highest number of reported COVID-19 cases, with over 300,000 of its citizens infected with the lethal virus. Almost 10,000 have lost their lives since the beginning of the outbreak, as the number of fatalities fast approach those of Spain, the second worst affected country in the world. Appearing on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Dr Jerome M Adams told the programme’s host: “The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment. It’s going to be our 9/11 moment.
“It’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives.”
Dr Adams’ grim prediction was echoed by the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who told the nation to brace themselves for a very rough ride.
Dr Anthony Fauci told CBS’s Face the Nation: “This is going to be a bad week.
“It’s going to be shocking to some, it certainly is really disturbing to see that, but that’s what’s going to happen before it turns around.”
Dr Fauci acknowledged that the various mitigation strategies had started to have an impact on the spread of the virus, but rejected any suggestions that the crisis was under control yet.
He said: “I’m not saying we have it under control. That would be a false statement.
“We are struggling to get it under control.”
On Saturday, Donald Trump also warned US public to expect “a lot of death” during a White House press conference.
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He told assembled reporters: “This will be probably the toughest week, between this week and next week.
“And there will be a lot of death unfortunately.”
The US president cancelled a press briefing on Sunday and started the day by tweeting messages about Palm Sunday holiday.
It comes as governors from a number of US states took to the airwaves to plead for more federal support in their fights against the COVID-19 contagion.
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Illinois’s governor J B Pritzker accused the Trump administration of failing to act on intelligence warnings of the seriousness of the virus in January and February.
In a scathing indictment, he told CNN’s State of the Union programme: “If they had started in February building ventilators, getting ready for this pandemic, we would not have the problems we are having today.
“And quite frankly, very many fewer people would die.”
Illinois currently has 10,000 cases of COVID-19 and recorded 250 deaths to date.
The governor, who expects the crisis to peak by the end of April, has requested 4,000 ventilators to help treat seriously ill patients.
He argued that individual states did not have the same power as the federal government, especially when it came to the use of the federal Defense Production Act.
Mr Pritzker said: “There’s no way that we can stockpile in anticipation of a pandemic that no one anticipated.
“And yet the federal government is responsible for doing precisely that.”
The governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards, also warned that his state would runout of ventilators by Thursday, as it prepared to open a field hospital with 1,000 beds on Monday.
The state is fast becoming a new epicentre for the coronavirus, with some 477 fatalities already recorded.
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