Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned on Wednesday night that the US could become ‘worse’ than Italy if people do not start taking social distancing seriously.
In the US, there are 73,939 cases of coronavirus and the death toll is 1,074.
The country is 11 days behind Italy in terms of of the virus spreading but already has a higher number of infections.
In Italy, there are 74,000 infections but 7,000 people have died. The number of new cases each day in Italy is slowing down but its death rate is not.
Dr. Adams told Fox News that people in the US must start staying indoors if they are not already if they want a chance at beating the virus.
‘I’m heartened by the people around the country who are doing the right thing, but we’re still seeing far too many pictures of people out there doing the wrong things.
‘Playing basketball, out on beaches. We need America to understand that we still could be like Italy.
‘We could be worse than Italy if we don’t participate in these 15 days to stop the spread,’ he said during an appearance on The Ingrahm Angle.
Dr. Adams said there were encouraging numbers coming out of New York where despite the growing case count, the rate of hospitalization is ‘leveling off’ which might give healthcare workers a chance to get ahead.
There are still going to be enough cases of people requiring hospital care to overwhelm the system.
However, Dr. Adams said Americans were two thirds of the way through the 15 days of advice that the government issued.
‘I feel actually pretty good that if we continue to lean into this, we will actually flatten our curve even more. We’ll start to come down and we won’t reach those horrific projections.
‘And we’ve said constantly that every place is going to have a different curve.
‘So New York’s going to have a different curve than Washington, than Boise, Idaho.
‘And what the president, in my mind is doing is trying to help people understand that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. We will get through this.
‘And as you mentioned earlier, we’re seeing New York cases level off,’ he said.
‘We’re seeing their hospitalizations start to level off. And when you look at China, when you look at South Korea, their curve was about two to two and a half months.
‘So there is hope that if we continue to lead into the mitigation efforts and we’re two-thirds of the way through this 15 days to stop the spread initiative, that we can flatten the curve and that we can get to the end of this more quickly,’ he said.
He previously said 15 days would not be enough but that the country would ‘reassess’ at that point on what to do next.
President Trump had said that he wanted an Easter deadline to reopen the country.
He has since softened that and says he will consult medical experts.