‘We will get to the end of this pandemic together,’ US surgeon general says as omicron COVID surge continues
(Tribune News Service) — U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Sunday highlighted the success of vaccines against COVID-19 and said the country, despite upheaval and tremendous loss, will “get to the end of this pandemic.”
Murthy told CNN’s “State of the Union” that while it’s understandable many are frustrated with an ongoing pandemic that’s killed more than 800,000 Americans over two years, it’s still important to note “tremendous progress,” including saving “more than a million lives because of vaccination efforts this past year alone.”
“We’ve lost so many people and our lives have been changed fundamentally,” Murthy said. “But those struggles shouldn’t obscure one critical thing, which is that we have made tremendous progress in this last two years as well.”
“I know it may not always feel like the progress is enough,” he added. “But we’ve also gotten tools and developed tools to learn to live our lives, to gather with family and friends. And those include not just the vaccines and the boosters, but testing, using masks judiciously, and using better ventilation and gathering in better ventilated spaces.”
Murthy argued that “we will get to the end of this pandemic.”
“It’s gone through twists and turns,” he said. “But we will get there and we will get there together.”
State and federal officials have ramped up efforts to distribute more COVID-19 tests, get more people vaccinated and boosted, and expand capacity at health care facilities and testing sites. The Biden administration recently announced plans to deploy 1,000 military medical personnel to support hospital staffing as cases spike. The administration also plans to buy 500 million rapid at-home COVID-19 tests that Americans can order for free by January.
Cases have steadily increased in Massachusetts, New England and throughout the U.S. for several weeks, but vaccinations and boosters have kept severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths down compared to last year.
Health officials still expect the new omicron variant and holiday travel to bring a significant surge this winter. Massachusetts on Friday reported more than 10,000 new cases in a single day for the first time over the two-year pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Sunday that as federal, state and local health officials grapple with the “rapid spread” of omicron, the U.S. is headed for a continued surge of cases this winter.
“Given the sheer volume of cases that you see now, every day it goes up and up,” Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told ABC News’ “This Week” on Sunday morning. “The last weekly average was about 150,000, and it will likely go much higher.”
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