With more than 5,800 cases and at least 100 deaths, the U.S. is at a critical point in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic, according to Surgeon General .
In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell, Adams emphasized that the next 15 days will be crucial for in the U.S. He also warned that if Americans don't take it seriously, the nation could face an outbreak like Italy's — in which more than 31,000 people have been diagnosed.
Read Norah O'Donnell's interview with Adams below.
Norah O'Donnell: There is a new study out today from the National Institutes of Health that says the virus can live on surfaces for up to days. Twenty-four hours on cardboard, two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. What do Americans need to know to protect themselves?
Dr. Jerome Adams: Well, the most important thing for Americans to know is that they should clean their surfaces frequently and that they should wash their hands frequently because the two ways you're going to transmit coronavirus from a surface is by having a dirty surface around your house and by not washing your hands after you touch that surface.
The mayor of New York City said he is considering a shelter in place policy. If major cities did that, would that help slow the spread of this invisible enemy?
Well, I'm glad you brought that up because Tony Fauci and I talk multiple times a day, every day. And as Tony says, if it seems like an overreaction right now, then you're probably about where you need to be.
Again, it's why the administration put out these guidelines for all of America, not just for certain areas, but for all of America to look at the ways that they can prevent transmission of disease in their communities. And I wouldn't fault any mayor, any governor, for what they're considering in their communities. But at the very least, limit social gatherings to less than 10, stay at home if you can from work and avoid non-essential travel.
Let me ask you as a doctor, what's your message to adults over the age of 60 who are healthy and they say, "I'm not worried about getting coronavirus?"
My message is to everyone: Fifteen days, you can do anything for 15 days. Stay at home as much as possible, limit the spread, we do not want to look like Italy does two weeks from now.
I know you're a dad, I'm a mom — many parents have this question: Can my kids have playdates, should they?
We said no playdates. My wife just finished cancer treatment. She's at higher risk. I actually myself, have chronic medical conditions. I'm pre-diabetic, and it's just not worth the risk to the two of us, but it's not worth the risk of our kids being spreaders and potentially taking it to someone else.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the number of deaths in Italy.