Surgeon general: 15 days of social distancing ‘likely not going to be enough’ to halt coronavirus
Surgeon General Jerome Adams acknowledged Wednesday that the Trump administration’s recommendation that Americans practice preventative measures for 15 days is “likely not going to be enough” time to successfully halt the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
“Fifteen days is likely not going to be enough to get us all the way through. But we really need to lean into it now so that we can bend the curve in the next 15 days, and at that point we’ll reassess,” Adams said during an interview on NBC’s “Today.”
The concession from the surgeon general comes after the administration announced a slate of new guidelines Monday intended to blunt the disease’s rapid rate of transmission in the U.S., where positive cases have now been reported in all 50 states and more than 100 people have died as a result of the virus.
The federal guidance urged Americans for the next two weeks to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people; work or attend school from home whenever possible; and abstain from eating or drinking at bars, restaurants and food courts. (social distancing)
But scientific studies and even senior administration officials have suggested in recent days that the coronavirus’ effects on American life could extend much longer than initially thought and bring about a remarkable loss in human life.
An internal report from the Department of Health and Human Services, produced over the weekend and first reported on by The New York Times, predicted that the “pandemic will last 18 months or longer and could include multiple waves of illness.”
Another report compiled by British researchers and released Monday estimated that as many as 2.2 million people in the U.S. could die from coronavirus if drastic steps were not taken to fight its spread. The dire findings appear to have influenced the administration’s latest recommendations.
Adams’ remarks Wednesday echo a similar assessment issued Tuesday by Vice President Mike Pence, who told NPR that “the 15 days is about measures we believe can impact the growth and expansion of the virus in the United States.”
Pence, who is leading the U.S. response efforts against the public health crisis, also said that administration officials “fully expect that we will be dealing with the coronavirus in the United States for months,” and that “according to some of our modeling, we could well be dealing with coronavirus cases in the United States well into July.”