US Surgeon General Jerome Adams has cautioned Americans that a new spike in coronavirus-related deaths is possible over the next two weeks due to the peculiarities of the disease.
"We know deaths lag at least two weeks and can lag even more", Adams said, noting that the majority of deaths are likely to be seen in nursing homes.
Nursing homes deaths indeed constitute 43% of those related to COVID-19 in the US, while only 11% of all infections in the country take place in them. The surgeon general, however, suggested a solution that might decrease the infection, and hence the mortality rate among the elderly in the US, stressing its importance in the face of the upcoming 4th of July celebrations. Adams urged all Americans, including the younger population, to wear protective masks and adhere to social distancing rules to prevent spreading the disease, even unknowingly.
"What we’re really worried about — particularly with young people — is that they get it and then they spread it to their grandmother, to their grandfather", Adams said, adding that it won't matter if the states are reopening or not, "if people don’t follow the measures that we recommend all along".
The surgeon general's wording on the matter of wearing masks in public places is a drastic u-turn, from what he promoted at the end of February, when the disease was only starting to spread. In a Twitter post from that times, Adams argued that masks are "not effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus" and urged ordinary Americans to stop buying them and leave the PPE stockpiles to healthcare professionals, who need them to reduce risks while treating sick patients.
Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!— U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 29, 2020
They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
Adam's stance on wearing masks also follows several days of the US setting new records in the daily increase of COVID-19 cases, with the latest being 52,789 new infections reported on 3 July. The continuing spreading of the infection comes after a month of nationwide anti-racism George Floyd demonstrations in which protesters did not always follow social distancing rules. The ongoing process of reopening states has only added to the problem, with some of them, like Florida, setting new infection records following the decision to revive the state's economy.