The nation was bracing Sunday for it deadliest week in what the surgeon general called “our Pearl Harbor moment” as the trajectory of coronavirus cases continued its climb, but there were hints of improvement in the nation’s “hot spot” of New York.

In Italy, Pope Francis celebrated Palm Sunday Mass in an empty St. Peter’s Basilica and, in England, Queen Elizabeth II was poised to address her nation – from isolation.

“Well, it’s tragically fitting that we’re talking at the beginning of Holy Week because this is going to be the hardest and the saddest week of most Americans’ lives, quite frankly,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said Sunday.

Adams and other public health officials urged Americans to practice social distancing and to wear masks in public places.

There were more than 321,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. as of Sunday morning, according to the Johns Hopkins University data dashboard, while the nation’s death toll stood at over 9,100. A week ago there were less than 125,000 cases and 2,200 had died.

Worldwide, the death toll surpassed 67,000 on Sunday, and more than 1.2 million people had been infected.

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