Surgeon Normal Vivek Murthy on how the U.S. can “get to a greater place” with COVID-19

Though the nation is beginning to see a decline from the current peak of COVID-19 instances, Surgeon Normal Vivek Murthy stated the US nonetheless has a methods to go in defeating the pandemic. 

“Whereas we’re not off course, we aren’t the place we wish to be,” Dr. Murthy instructed CBS Information’ Tanya Rivero and Nikki Battiste on Thursday. 

He urged Individuals to proceed taking precautions in opposition to the virus — getting absolutely vaccinated, carrying high-quality face masks and getting examined — in order that the nation can “in the end get to a greater place.” 

“If we do that collectively we’ll get by means of this surge and see a greater day,” Murthy stated.

He famous that the U.S. continues to be reporting almost 2,000 COVID-related deaths every day, and among the highest numbers of COVID hospitalizations seen throughout the complete pandemic. However over the past seven days, there was a 5% lower in new U.S. instances on common when in comparison with the week prior, the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention reviews. 

Because the Omicron surge reveals indicators of beginning to decline, Murthy stated scientists world wide proceed monitoring variants of the virus. Scientists have not too long ago recognized a brand new sub-variant of Omicron referred to as BA.2, which has been detected in not less than 40 international locations, together with the US. 

Murthy referred to as BA.2 “a cousin” of Omicron, and stated there is not proof but which suggests it to be extra harmful or much less aware of current vaccines. He stated instances of BA.2 are at present “very low” within the U.S., however added that scientists are retaining their eyes on it. 

“We wish to study all the pieces we will about this to be ready,” Murthy stated. “For now, although, the message continues to be the identical and the steps we have to take are nonetheless the identical.”

He inspired Individuals to not wait to get vaccinated. Whereas pharmaceutical firms are engaged on growing variant-specific vaccines, Murthy stated the prevailing vaccines are already “efficient at defending individuals from the worst consequence of Omicron, which is hospitalization and dying.”

Murthy additionally defended the Meals and Drug Administration’s current determination to halt use of two monoclonal antibody therapies that are not efficient in opposition to the Omicron variant, regardless of criticism of the choice.

Well being officers must “get individuals medicines that work,” Murthy stated.

“What we’ve got seen now clearly within the laboratory knowledge is that the 2 therapeutics in query, that are each two monoclonal antibodies, that these don’t really seem to work relating to Omicron,” he stated. “And that is crucial right here.” 

He stated the continued use of the therapies can be a “waste of assets” that may “topic sufferers to pointless threat.”

Two years into coping with COVID-19, Murthy stated the pandemic “has taken an actual toll” on Individuals’ psychological well being. He additionally stated the nation has a “ethical duty” to take care of the psychological well being of well being care suppliers who’ve accomplished a lot to assist others.

“Meaning investing in expanded entry to psychological well being therapy. It means lowering the burden on many clinicians, which is partially, lowering the variety of COVID instances,” he stated. “Meaning everybody taking the precautions they’re taking.”

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