US braces for painful week of loss in time of pandemic

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment.” That’s how the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams starkly framed the coming week and an expected wave of coronavirus deaths across the nation.

New York City, the U.S. epicenter, New Orleans and Detroit face especially worrying days ahead.

Yet President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are striking optimistic tones, insisting that hard weeks ahead will ultimately lead to the nation beginning to turn a corner.

AP Investigation: The first alarms sounded in early January that the outbreak of a novel coronavirus in China would ignite a global pandemic. But the Trump administration squandered nearly two months that could have been used to bolster the federal stockpile of critically needed medical supplies and equipment, Michael Biesecker found.

America and the World: A thick thread of the American experience has always been to hold the rest of the world at arm’s length. Now, the notion of a virus that came from a distant “elsewhere,” accurate or not, stands to carve deeper grooves in that landscape, AP national writer Ted Anthony reports.

More from the AP U.S. team:

  • Anti-Viral Drug: Coronavirus patients around the world are rushing to join studies of an experimental drug that showed promise against some similar viruses in the past. Interest in the drug remdesivir has been so great that the U.S. National Institutes of Health is boosting the size of its study, reports AP chief medical writer Marilynn Marchione.
  • African American Mistrust: Historic failures in government response to disasters and emergencies, medical abuse, neglect and exploitation have jaded generations of black people into a distrust of public institutions. Aaron Morrison and Jay Reeves have that story.
  • Grocery Workers: Across the globe they are working the frontlines during lockdowns. Their stores are deemed essential, and their work puts them close to the public and therefore at risk. They’re also afraid.
  • One Good Thing: Workers at New Orleans’ Ochsner Medical Center have been greeted with expressions of gratitude from an unnamed artist, sketched out in chalk on the sidewalk. Says one lab technician: They “give us hope.”
Nearly 1.3 million infections worldwide; UK’s Johnson hospitalized

There are now close to 1.3 million people infected with the coronavirus and more than 69,000 have died around the world.

The U.N. chief appealed for “peace at home” — all homes — out of concern that domestic violence is rising as the social and financial toll of the pandemic deepens.

Japanese officials are today considering declaring a state of emergency. Infections are soaring in the country that has the world’s third-largest economy and its oldest population.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been admitted to a hospital for tests, 10 days after being diagnosed with the virus. Johnson’s office said he was hospitalized Sunday because he still has symptoms. Downing Street said it was not an emergency.

The Stigma: The pandemic is fomenting less-visible stigma that can come with it. While there are many stories about good deeds and people coming together, the coronavirus is also bringing out another, darker side of some people: Fear, anger, resentment and shaming. Christine Armario reports from Bogota, Colombia.

More from the AP Global Team:

  • Afghan Exodus: Streaming home, untested and unprotected: More than 200,000 Afghans have returned from Iran, one of the world’s biggest epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, to an impoverished homeland woefully unprepared to deal with the outbreak. Tameem Akhagar reports from Kabul.
  • South Africa Testing: The country may have an advantage in the outbreak, despite being one of the world’s most unequal countries with a large population vulnerable to the virus. Years of battling HIV and tuberculosis have endowed it with the know-how and infrastructure to conduct mass testing.
  • Lives Lost:  Nothing in the way Enrico Giancomoni lived during his 80-plus years in Rome corresponds with the way he died, which was alone. This is part of an ongoing series of stories remembering people around the world who have died during the new coronavirus pandemic.
  • Pope’s Palm Sunday: Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass without the public, since the traditional ceremony in St. Peter’s Square was scrapped. The pontiff said during the pandemic the “real heroes” are “not famous, rich or successful” but those who serve others.