Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading health official in charge of the coronavirus response in the U.S., urged Americans to employ harsher social distancing and community mitigation efforts Sunday in order to combat the spread of the infectious disease.
"I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Fauci's advice came alongside a Centers for Disease Control recommendation that event organizers cancel or postpone events consisting of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks, excluding day-to-day operations of schools and businesses.
States shutting down restaurants, bars
Over the weekend, several states responded by enacting their most extreme measures yet to restrict the gathering of crowds and the potential spread of disease.
Governors in five states — California, Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, and Washington state — issued guidelines temporarily closing or limiting capacity at bars and restaurants. Food service businesses in those states will still be able to offer carry-out and delivery options, but will not be permitted to seat people inside.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wrote on Twitter that he is aware of the economic impact such guidelines will have, but insisted, "every day we delay, more people will die."
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee made the announcement that bars, restaurants, and recreational facilities would be temporarily closed Sunday evening only hours after he forcefully admonished state residents who were not practicing social distancing.
"Your actions could kill someone. Stop it," he wrote on Twitter.
Officials in New York City also moved to close down entertainment venues in addition to bars and restaurants.
Schools across the country have closed
Parents and students are bracing for weeks without classes as schools in many states have closed amid the outbreak.
Schools in more than 30 states and many school districts in other states are scrambling to adjust schedules and move to online curriculum. Working parents, who are used to having the kids away at school during the work day, are feeling the effects, too.
But it is not just bars, restaurants, and schools that have been affected by the coronavirus. These latest announcements come on the heels of other changes that have already significantly altered the day-to-day life of Americans, such as the cancellation of church gatherings, sports seasons, and planned vacations. Also, many employees and businesses unfamiliar or unpracticed with remote work are undergoing some on-the-job training.
As of Monday morning, more than 3,700 people in the U.S. have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, resulting in at least 69 deaths, according to CBS News. Globally, the death toll is over 6,500.
Here's more on America's response to the coronavirus outbreak:
Coronavirus Outbreak: States Shutdown Restaurants And Bars To Slow Spread | NBC Nightly News youtu.be