White House Task Force Warns Americans to Brace for the Worst Amid Pandemic: 'This Is Going to Be a Bad Week'

The White House task force devoted to flattening the spread of the coronavirus warned Americans to brace for the worst in the coming days, reiterating that "a lot of death" is in the near future due to COVID-19. Monday morning, Adm. Brett Giroir of the coronavirus task force told Savannah Guthrie on the Today show that "this week is going to be the peak week" for New York, New Jersey and Detroit.

"Now remember, this is the peak week for hospitalizations and of course for deaths. This reflects infections that occurred two or even three weeks ago. So we may be seeing the worst upon us right now in terms of the outcomes ... but we believe we're turning the corner because of all the physical distancing that we're doing," Giroir said to Guthrie, who returned to her at-home studio this week.

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases said the U.S. was "struggling to get it [the pandemic] under control." Per CNN, he told reporters at a White House briefing that "this is probably going to be a really bad week," explaining the lag is due to infections that occurred "two and a half weeks ago."

"So if we start seeing now a flattening or stabilization of cases ... doesn't take away from the fact that tomorrow, the next day is going to look really bad," he said.

Giroir told Guthrie on Monday that just because large metropolitan areas like New York are seeing their worst weeks yet, does not mean those in more rural communities should let up on social distancing efforts. "No one is immune from this virus. It is a brand new virus. Whether you live in small town America or you live in the Big Apple, everyone is susceptible to this and everyone needs to follow the precautions that we've laid out. Your best precautions... is the physical distancing that we've been talking about for several weeks," he said, thanking those who have been working from home and wearing face masks when out in public.

"Everyone across the country can get this and it's very, very important. Even though we say this is going to be the peak, if we let our foot off the gas and start doing things that are ill advised, we could have another repack in a few weeks. So we have to keep our efforts going," Giroir said.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Fox News Sunday that the upcoming week would be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" amid predictions of a surge in deaths from the coronavirus. "This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment and our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localized, it's going to be happening all over the country," Adams told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, adding that it was "tragically fitting" they were discussing the virus at the beginning of Holy Week, the week preceding Easter.

The U.S. has so far had the worst outbreak of the novel coronavirus worldwide, with at least 337,933 confirmed cases and 9,653 deaths as of Monday morning, according to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University. That death toll has already surpassed that of both the attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

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"I want [Americans] to understand that the public along with the state and federal government have the power to change the trajectory of this epidemic," Adams added.

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