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The United States Surgeon General has warned the fallout from COVID-19 will “be our Pearl Harbour, our 9/11”, as the country’s death toll rises above 8,400. Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, the country’s top medical officer, issued the warning during an interview on Fox News Sunday, painting an ominous picture of the weeks ahead.

"This is going to be our Pearl Harbour moment, our 9/11 moment, only it's not going to be localised. It's going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that."

With at least 3,202 people killed by the virus in New York City alone, the crisis has eclipsed the fatalities of the September 11 terror attacks, which killed 2,753 in the city.

President Trump said this will “probably be one of the toughest weeks” in most Americans' lives, and said there will be “a lot of death”.

Non-Resident Senior Fellow Dr Charles Edel writes for the American Interest that there are important lessons from American history about placing the nation on a wartime footing that should be headed during this seemingly unprecedented and uncertain time.