The United States Surgeon General Jerome Adams compared this coming week to some of America’s greatest tragedies, such as Pearl Harbor, and warned Americans to be prepared as the novel coronavirus-related death toll continues to rise.
“This is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly. This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it is not going to be localized. It is going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that,” Adams said on April 5.
In the hardest virus-hit state, New York, the number of daily death and intensive care patients has decreased slightly, bringing the total to 4,159 as of April 6, although it is too soon to determine whether the state has reached its peak.
“We could either be very near the apex, or the apex could be a plateau and we could be on the plateau right now. You can’t do this day-to-day. You have to look at three or four days to see a pattern,” New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
New York State registered its highest daily death toll on April 4, with 630 deaths recorded in a single day. New Jersey has the second-hardest hit by the virus, with 917 deaths and 37,505 cases since the beginning of the outbreak in the US. Michigan and California have recorded over 15,000 cases each, with Michigan’s death toll at 617 and California’s at 348 as of April 6.
Rikers Island first inmate death
On April 5, the first Rikers Island jail complex inmate died from COVID-19. A total of 321 staff members and 273 inmates have also tested positive. The jail complex’s inmates have been offered US$6 per hour to dig mass graves in preparation for the high numbers of deaths in the state from the pandemic.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio reportedly had confirmed the arrangements for the digging of mass graves by inmates, but said that it was not “COVID-specific.”
Possible death toll understated
Health experts say that the death toll may be higher than the official numbers suggest due to lack of available test kits in rural areas and the absence of testing for respiratory-related deaths occurring at home, leading to doctors misidentifying the cause of death of possible COVID-19 patients as influenza or pneumonia.
China is also reported to have understated its coronavirus death toll, as some believe the number of deaths in Wuhan was, in fact, ten times higher than its official count.
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