During an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Monday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams warned that the coronavirus outbreak is poised to take a turn for the worse this week.
"I want America to understand -- this week, it's going to get bad," Adams said. He echoed the advice of health officials nationwide in saying, "We really, really need everyone to stay at home.”
Nearly half of people polled recently by STAANCE said they are fearful of the virus, but just 17 percent said they think they will get it. Health officials, including Adams, are concerned that many Americans -- especially young people -- aren’t taking the threat of the virus seriously. Adams specifically called out people going to California beaches and looking at cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C.
“I think that there are a lot of people who are doing the right things, but ... we're finding out a lot of people think this can't happen to them,” he said.
The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has risen dramatically in recent weeks. The latest figures from Johns Hopkins University place the number of infected people in the U.S. at more than 35,000. The virus has been reported in all 50 states, and at least 473 people have died.
Americans are strongly urged to adhere to the guidance of staying at home and practicing social distancing when it’s necessary to leave the house. Symptoms of the virus could take as many as 14 days to surface, meaning individuals who go out could unwittingly be spreading the illness to others.
Consumers are also advised to step up their hygiene practices in light of the discovery that the coronavirus can contaminate and live on certain surfaces for up to three days.
“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 said.