U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams made a personal plea urging Americans to take COVID-19 seriously on New Year's Eve, after announcing that his wife was admitted to a hospital due to cancer complications.
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US Surgeon General Jerome Adams urged Americans to take COVID-19 seriously on New Years Eve amid soaring hospitalizations. Here, Adams speaks after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, December 18, 2020.
"My wife is being admitted to the hospital due to complications w/ her cancer treatment. I'm not allowed to see her due to #COVID19 restrictions, & I'm hoping she doesn't have to spend New Year's in a hallway because the beds are full. What you do matters, even beyond COVID...," Adams wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Along with his statement, Adams shared a cartoon image of a masked heart that said: "Wearing is caring."
Adams' message comes as U.S. hospitals have reported overwhelming surges of virus patients, and in some areas, have reached full capacity.
Last week, nearly one-fifth of hospitals with intensive care units (ICUs) across the country reported that at least 95 percent of the their emergency beds were in use. In total, 78 percent of intensive care hospital beds were occupied.
The situation has become so dire in some areas that hospitals have been forced to set up makeshift tents and see patients in hallways and waiting rooms. In parts of Los Angeles County, the hardest-hit county in the U.S., hospitals have even had to turn away ambulances seeking to drop off new patients.
Video: Dr. Nesheiwat: Coronavirus will worsen over holidays if CDC guidelines are ignored (Fox Business)
Health care experts have warned that the situation could get even worse as 2020 comes to a close, and new cases are reported amid Christmas and New Year's celebrations.
"We are seeing a rise in cases and mortalities above what we expected," Dr. Ali Mokdad, a member of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) senior faculty and a former official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), previously told Newsweek.
Mokdad added that he is most concerned that New Year's Eve celebrations will lead to a surge of virus cases, since it's usually spent with friends outside of an immediate household.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, previously told Newsweek that the start of the new year will likely see the worst levels of coronavirus cases yet.
"January is going to be terrible," he said, before adding that "you're going to have the Thanksgiving surge super-imposed upon the Christmas surge. So it's entirely conceivable that January could be the worst."
As of Thursday, the U.S. has had over 19.8 million coronavirus cases and 344,030 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
This New Year's Eve marks one year since the World Health Organization (WHO) first announced the mysterious illness discovered in China, which was later identified as COVID-19.
Newsweek reached out to Adams and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for additional comment, but did not hear back in time for publication.
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