Surgeon General Jerome Adams has made quite the turnaround from his dire prediction that this week would be this generation’s equivalent of Pearl Harbor.
Adams said on Tuesday that he believes social distancing strategies in place throughout most of the U.S. are working and that he feels “a lot more optimistic” about the outlook going forward, according to The Washington Times.
Though the total number of deaths from COVID-19 in the US — especially New York — is still shocking, a more important metric to examine is the number of new hospitalizations.
The last two days have seen some rather devastating death tolls, but it is important to remember that the most severe coronavirus cases can take weeks to turn the corner one way or another.
The death curve always lags behind the number of confirmed cases and hospitalizations, so even though there have been more than 700 deaths in New York on each of the last two days, fewer people are being hospitalized for the coronavirus on a daily basis.
The point is that it does appear that the social distancing rules that have been put in place are having a positive impact.
“I feel a lot more optimistic, again, because I’m seeing mitigation work,” Adams stated during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, according to the Telegraph.
He went on: “I really do believe that we will come in under those projections as long as we can continue to do our part for 30 days: staying home, avoiding unnecessary travel, not gathering in large groups.”
Turning the corner?
The question everyone wants answered is when their lives can return to some semblance of normality. That date does depend on how strictly people follow these rules and how soon an effective treatment becomes available.
The country does not necessarily need to have a vaccine for things to return to normal — at least to some degree. If doctors find a treatment that will halt the progress of the virus, the economy can begin to reopen.
Dr. Anthony Fauci recently stated that he believes children will be able to return to school in the fall, something many will see as a cause for hope. Additionally, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said on Wednesday that new treatments and tests that are being rolled out within the next weeks will make a major difference in how the nation approaches the virus, Breitbart reported.
It is too early and the situation too volatile to speculate on a specific reopening date, but the signals coming from the administration now are much more optimistic than they were just a week ago.