US Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Monday incorrectly suggested South Korea is an “authoritarian nation” while discussing its response to coronavirus.”We are not an authoritarian nation, so we have to be careful when we say, ‘Let’s do what China did. Let’s do what South Korea did,'” Adams said. South Korea has been widely applauded over its response to the coronavirus pandemic, and the robust system of testing it set up to quell the spread of the virus. The US is far behind other countries in testing. Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Monday wrongly suggested South Korea is an “authoritarian nation” as he equated it to China during a discussion on the coronavirus pandemic with “Fox & Friends.””We are not an authoritarian nation, so we have to be careful when we say, ‘Let’s do what China did. Let’s do what South Korea did,'” Adams said. “A lot of our public health authority lies in the state and local level, and I have worked for a local health department and a state health department,” Adams added. “And what we’re seeing now is that these state and local health departments are saying, ‘Give us guidance. Give us more cover. We want you to come in and tell us what we should be doing to protect ourselves.'”South Korea is a democratic country and a key ally of the US, and has been for decades. The South Korean government has been widely applauded for its response to the coronavirus pandemic, particularly in terms of the speed and scale of its testing for the virus.Along these lines, Adams — who leads the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and is one of the federal government’s top public health officials — was widely criticized on social media.
—Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) March 16, 2020—Wonsuk Chin (진원석) (@wonsuk) March 16, 2020—Stuck Inside of Mobile w/ the Memphis Blues again (@TimothyS) March 16, 2020Adams’ remarks came as the US moved toward more stringent measures to quell the spread of the novel coronavirus, including major cities like New York City closing down bars and restaurants other than takeout, and shuttering public schools. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Sunday recommended that all gatherings of 50 people and more be postponed until May.Adams defended the moves being taken during this “unprecedented” situation, stating the US is at a “critical inflection point.” And he applauded South Korea for its success in quelling the spread of the virus, warning that the US does not want to become Italy, which has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Unlike South Korea, which has set up a robust system of testing for the virus, the US is far behind other countries in testing and getting a clear picture of the scale of the outbreak within its borders. “People, we are where Italy was two weeks ago in terms of our numbers, and we have a choice to make as a nation: Do we want to go the direction of South Korea, and really be aggressive and lower our mortality rates, or do we want to go the direction of Italy?”Adams went on to say, “And when you look at the projections, there’s every chance that we could be Italy, but there’s every hope that we will be South Korea.”
The novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, originated in Wuhan, China. The Chinese government has faced criticism over efforts to suppress information on the scale of the outbreak, but through extreme measures and restrictions on daily life has seemingly been successfully in slowing a rise in new infections.Alluding to this, Adams said, “China really leaned into this, and we saw that it was about a couple months that they were able to see cases go down significantly. Same thing in South Korea. We’re hopeful that if we lean into this, then maybe in about six to eight weeks, we’ll get over the majority of the pain, we will have flattened the curve, and we can start to slowly get back to life as normal.”Over 3,800 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the US as of Monday afternoon, and at least 67 people have died from it. Globally, the death toll surpassed 6,500 on Monday, per Biorports.
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