April 6, 2020 / Associated Press/NBC
Americans braced for what the nation’s top doctor warned Sunday would be “the hardest and saddest week” of their lives. “This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
The stark warning comes as hospitals, already overwhelmed with coronavirus cases, are facing supply shortages and burned-out staff.
Meanwhile, a review of federal purchasing contracts by The Associated Press shows the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment. Federal agencies waited until mid-March to begin placing bulk orders of N95 respirator masks, mechanical ventilators and other equipment needed by front-line health care workers. By that time, hospitals in several states were treating thousands of infected patients without adequate equipment and were pleading for shipments from the Strategic National Stockpile.
The number of people infected in the U.S. exceeded 337,646 and the death toll approached 10,000, with New York state alone accounting for more than 4,150 dead. Most of the dead are in New York City, where hospitals are swamped with patients.