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US SURGEON GENERAL: THIS WEEK WILL BE LIKE A ‘PEARL HARBOR’ AND ‘9/11’ MOMENT

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 The US surgeon general said this week is going to be the “hardest and the saddest” for “most Americans’ lives,” describing the upcoming grim period of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States as a “Pearl Harbor moment” and a “9/11 moment.”

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment, only it’s not going to be localized, it’s going to be happening all over the country and I want America to understand that,” Vice Admiral Jerome Adams said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Adams continued: “I want Americans to understand that as hard as this week is going to be, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Officials are warning the next two weeks will be crucial in the fight to stop the spread of the virus. Early Sunday, the nationwide death toll had gone up to at least 8,503 people, with at least 312,245 infected, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

While speaking at Saturday’s coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, President Donald Trump said that this week and next will probably be the toughest in the fight against coronavirus and that “there will be a lot of death.”

“This will be probably the toughest week between this week and next week, and there will be a lot of death, unfortunately, but a lot less death than if this wasn’t done but there will be death,” Trump said.

On Sunday, Adams said his message to the governors who have not yet issued stay-at-home orders would be to consider even just a temporary shutdown.

“If you can’t give us a month, give us a week … give us what you can,” Adams said.

Just eight US governors have decided against issuing statewide directives urging their residents to stay at home as the outbreak escalates.

The governors, all of whom are Republican, have offered a variety of explanations for why they have not followed the lead of their colleagues from coast-to-coast.

In doing so, they’ve collectively ignored the stay-at-home pleas of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who said in a CNN interview: “If you look at what’s going on in this country, I just don’t understand why we’re not doing that.”

Absent a nationwide order, which Trump once again on Saturday declined to give, a patchwork of rules has emerged in all corners of the country that offer conflicting guidance for how citizens should protect themselves and their families from coronavirus.

“We have a thing called the Constitution, which I cherish,” Trump said Saturday, praising the decision of the governors. “Now in some cases we’ll supersede … it depends on the individual state that you’re talking about. … If I saw something wrong, if I saw a massive outbreak, of which there’s not, I would come down very hard.”

When asked about the President’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine as a way to treat Covid-19 despite a lack of firm evidence that it’s safe to do so, Adams said the drug should be available as a last-resort option for extremely ill patients.

“When people are in a tragic situation … we want them to be able to have a conversation with their health care provider about everything that they could possibly do to save their lives,” he said Sunday.

“We feel a little bit better about its safety than a completely novel drug.”

This story has been updated with additional comments from Vice Admiral Jerome Adams’ interview and background information.

The-CNN-Wire
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Louisiana Congressman-Elect Luke Letlow Dead From COVID-19

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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Luke Letlow, Louisiana’s incoming Republican member of the U.S. House, died Tuesday night from complications related to COVID-19 only days before being sworn into office. He was 41.

Letlow spokesman Andrew Bautsch confirmed the congressman-elect’s death at Ochsner-LSU Health Shreveport.

“The family appreciates the numerous prayers and support over the past days but asks for privacy during this difficult and unexpected time,” Bautsch said in a statement. “A statement from the family along with funeral arrangements will be announced at a later time.”

Louisiana’s eight-member congressional delegation called Letlow’s death devastating.

“Luke had such a positive spirit, and a tremendously bright future ahead of him. He was looking forward to serving the people of Louisiana in Congress, and we were excited to welcome him to our delegation where he was ready to make an even greater impact on our state and our nation,” they said in a statement.

The state’s newest congressman, set to take office in January, was admitted to a Monroe hospital on Dec. 19 after testing positive for the coronavirus disease. He was later transferred to the Shreveport facility and placed in intensive care.

Letlow, from the small town of Start in Richland Parish, was elected in a December runoff election for the 5th District U.S. House seat representing central and northeastern regions of the state, including the cities of Monroe and Alexandria.

He was to fill the seat being vacated by his boss, Republican Ralph Abraham. Letlow had been Abraham’s chief of staff and ran with Abraham’s backing for the job.

Gov. John Bel Edwards urged people to pray for Letlow’s family.

“COVID-19 has taken Congressman-elect Letlow from us far too soon,” the Democratic governor said in a statement. “I am heartbroken that he will not be able to serve our people as a U.S. representative, but I am even more devastated for his loving family.”

Before working for Abraham, Letlow had worked for former Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration. Jindal’s one-time chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, described Letlow on Twitter as “a good man with a kind heart and a passion to serve. He loved Louisiana and his family. He was a brother and I’m heart broken he’s gone.”

Letlow is survived by his wife, Julia Barnhill Letlow, and two children.

U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, a Republican and doctor who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this year and has since recovered, posted in a Twitter video: “It just, just, just, just brings home COVID can kill. For most folks it doesn’t, but it truly can. So, as you remember Luke, his widow, his children in your prayers, remember as well to be careful with COVID.”

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Oklahoma Health Officials Reject CDC Vaccine Recommendation

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma health officials say they don’t plan to follow all of the newly released federal guidelines for vaccine distribution and will keep adults 65 and older in phase two of the state’s distribution protocol.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines over the weekend to prioritize those aged 75 and older and frontline essential workers in phase two. But Oklahoma Health Commissioner Dr. Lance Frye said in a statement late Wednesday that the state’s advisory committee decided it would be problematic to prioritize young and healthy workers ahead of Oklahomans in the 65-74 age group.

Along with adults 65 and older, the state also plans to prioritize adults of any age with comorbidities, including hypertension, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers or chronic lung, liver or renal diseases. The state estimates there are about 635,000 Oklahomans in these two categories.

Frye says health officials plan to closely monitor the state’s vaccine supply and could consider prioritizing those age 75 and older if supplies and provider access remains limited.

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U.K. government extends national lockdown for at least three more weeks to slow country’s coronavirus outbreak.

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LONDON (AP) — U.K. government extends national lockdown for at least three more weeks to slow country’s coronavirus outbreak.

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