On Monday morning, U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams issued an important message to all Americans about the COVID-19 crisis: “This week is going to be bad.”

Adams gave this bleak warning in an interview on the TODAY Show, doubling down on the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines and certain states’ orders that everyone needs to stay home and practice self-distancing. Generally speaking, he said, they need to take the threat of coronavirus more seriously: “I think there are a lot of people who are doing the right things, but I think that unfortunately, we are finding out a lot of people think this can’t happen to them.”

“We don’t want Dallas or New Orleans or Chicago to turn into the next New York,” Adams added. “It means everyone needs to be taking the right steps right now.”

After a weekend of young people flocking to beaches and parks in California, the National Mall in Washington to view the cherry blossoms or spring break hotspots such as Miami, Adams wants that demographic to know that they are not immune from coronavirus’ devastation. 

“It’s important for young people to know, you can get this disease, you can be hospitalized from this disease, you can die from this disease — but most importantly, you can spread it to your loved ones,” Adams said. “So we need you to really lean in.”

“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,” he said.

According to NPR, “at least seven states — New York, Washington, New Jersey, California, Illinois, Michigan and Florida — have each confirmed more than 1,000 coronavirus cases. But experts warn that the slow rollout of testing in the U.S. means the country still doesn’t have an accurate picture of the virus’ toll.

Adams claims that despite those setbacks and lack of resources, the main way to fight the pandemic is by stopping the spread of the virus “in the first place.”

“The other important point is that we’re not going to ventilator our way out of this problem. We’re not going to treat our way out of this problem,” he said. 

“The way you stop the spread of an infectious disease like this is with mitigation measures and preventing people from getting it in the first place.”

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ESSENCE is committed to bringing our audience the latest facts about COVID-19 (coronavirus). Our content team is closely monitoring the developing details surrounding the virus via official sources and health care experts, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Please continue to refresh ESSENCE’s informational hub for updates on COVID-19, as well as tips for taking care of yourselves, your families and your communities.

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