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Covid Shouldn’t Be Underestimated, US Surgeon General Warns

There is hope in the US that vaccinations can help stem the Covid-19 pandemic, although officials are finding it challenging to raise vaccination rates. Surgeon General warns of being careful now after being snared before by the virus.

Covid Shouldn’t Be Underestimated, US Surgeon General Warns

Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that Covid-19 has misled us multiple times when cases went down and we assumed we were in the clear and then cases shot back up again. As the number of cases falls but does not stay below zero, we shouldn’t let down our guard, and right now the number of cases is rising. Hospitalizations are up, death rates are rising. Data from the Johns Hopkins University show that new daily cases have surged in 44 states over the past seven days, an increase of 66% from last week and 145% from two weeks ago. Also, hospitalizations have increased by 26%.

Covid Shouldn't Be Underestimated, US Surgeon General Warns

Dana Bash asked Murthy on “State of the Union” Sunday why 99.5% of deaths are caused by the unvaccinated — a figure cited by the US Centers for Disease Control earlier this month. More than half of the US does not have access to the widely transmissible Delta variant due to rising Covid-19 metrics and spreading misinformation, but health experts are concerned that vaccination resistance will increase with the spread of misinformation.

“A smoldering” outbreak could occur in the US for “a considerable time,” according to Dr. Anthony Fauci if many people who are holding out do not receive vaccines. The Covid-19 epidemic has already flooded some hospitals, Murthy noted.

Murthy said she was heartbroken by the amount of work (physicians) are doing — how exhausted they are. Because of this pandemic, many of these individuals are suffering from depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, and are considering suicide. As well as Americans, Murthy urged health care workers who are at risk of burnout to get vaccinated as well as children who are not yet able to receive the vaccine’s protection.

Vaccinated parents should still wear masks in high-risk areas, despite vaccination. He said he takes such precautions because he “wants to protect my children to the fullest extent possible.” Murthy is the father of two children, ages 3 and 4.

To protect the kids from the spread of this virus, Murthy said we are their shields. “Those who cannot get vaccinations rely on us, therefore we should be vaccinated,” he said. We owe it to the children in our communities, even if we don’t want to get vaccinated ourselves.

School masks are recommended by the pediatrics association

Experts and officials have emphasized that protecting children from infection is important, too, but that they must be returned to school safely as quickly as possible. 

As Dr. Greta Massetti, a member of the U.S. CDC’s Covid-19 Emergency Response pointed out, children are at less risk for severe disease from Covid-19 than adults. Some families, especially those with children or relatives who are at high risk of severe illnesses from COVID-19 or are physically unable to receive the vaccination, might be more comfortable with a remote option, she explained.

In new guidance released on Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that everyone over age 2 wear masks in schools to support in-person learning. AAP believes the benefits of in-person schooling outweigh the risks under all circumstances at this stage of the outbreak, given what is known about the low rates of transmission in schools when prevention measures are used, with vaccines available for students 12 years and older.

Contrary to CDC recommendations, the guidance urges people who are not fully vaccinated to wear masks indoors in schools. In Fauci’s view, the CDC allows localities to judge their situations.

The extra step, the extra mile, is needed to ensure that there are not a lot of transmissions or breakthrough infections among vaccinated people, Fauci stated when there is a high viral spread rate and low vaccination rates in a community. Many states follow the guidance of the American Association of Pediatrics by requiring masks in schools regardless of vaccination status, including Hawaii, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, New York, and Washington. 

In a new CNN analysis, however, it has been found that nine states have passed legislation preventing schools from requiring masks because of asthma. The states are Arizona, Georgia, Arkansas, Iowa, South Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Vermont.

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