WASHINGTON — Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned Monday that the coronavirus outbreak will worsen this week and said people across the country are not taking the threat seriously enough.
"I want America to understand this week, it's going to get bad," Adams said in an interview on the "TODAY" show.
The disease is spreading, he said, because many people — especially young people — are not abiding by guidance to stay at home and practice social distancing.
"Right now, there are not enough people out there who are taking this seriously," he said.
Adams said young people are flocking to the beaches in California and people are still heading to the National Mall in Washington to view the cherry blossom trees that bloom each year. He warned that young people need to understand that they can contract COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and that they can be hospitalized and potentially die from it.
"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.
Asked about growing pressure for President Donald Trump to use the Defense Production Act to force companies to mass produce critical supplies, Adams suggested that it's not necessary at this point.
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"Here's the thing that people don't understand. You don't need to compel someone to do something they are already doing," he said, adding that the administration is already working with companies like Honeywell and Hanes that are already producing large quantities of needed items.
"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."