(NBC News) – Top health officials are bracing Americans for what may be the deadliest weeks in the coronavirus outbreak, and the darkest in a generation.
The coronavirus death toll crossed a solemn marker Monday: More than 10,000 American lives lost.
“The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment,” says U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams. “It’s going to be our 9/11 moment.”
Health officials are pleading with the public: Now is the time to stay home. Don’t even go to the grocery store.
“If we let our foot off the gas and start doing things that are ill-advised, we could have another peak in a few weeks,” warns Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services Admiral Brett Giroir.
New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo has doubled fines to $1,000 for people breaking social distancing rules.
The crackdown comes as New York’s daily death toll shows signs of flattening, with new hospitalizations, ICU admissions and intubations all dropping, but still high, as the state’s healthcare system is pushed to its limits.
“If we are plateauing, we are plateauing at a high level,” Governor Cuomo says.
A new government watchdog report out Monday shows hospitals across the country are facing dire shortages of medical equipment, including testing kits and thermometers.
The report also found FEMA has shipped out expired protective gear.
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