The Slatest

Surgeon General on COVID: “Next Few Weeks Will Be Tough”

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaks about equitable health care during the Covid-19 pandemic in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, D.C. on November 22, 2021.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaks about equitable health care during the Covid-19 pandemic in the South Court Auditorium of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, D.C. on November 22, 2021. OLIVIER DOULIERY/Getty Images

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy warned Sunday that COVID-19 infections are set to continue increasing in much of the country and the “next few weeks will be tough.” Speaking as the number of daily COVID-19 cases passed 800,000, Murthy said there was reason to be optimistic cases would decrease in some parts of the country but others are still set to see an increase. “The challenge is that the entire country is not moving at the same pace,” Murthy said on CNN’s State of the Union. “The Omicron wave started later in other parts of the country. We shouldn’t expect a national peak in the coming days.”

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In an interview on ABC’s This Week, Murthy said that “case numbers are high and hospitals are struggling.” But he also said there was good news in some parts of the country as some cities that were hit hardest by the latest wave appear to be experiencing a respite. “The good news is that there are parts of the country, New York, in particular, and other parts of the Northeast, where we are starting to see a plateau and, in some cases, an early decline in cases,” Murthy said on CNN.

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Murthy also criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to block the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-testing mandate for large employers. “The news about the workplace requirement being blocked was very disappointing,” Murthy said. “It was a setback for public health. Because what these requirements ultimately are helpful for is not just protecting the community at large, but making our workplaces safer for workers as well as for customers.” The administration is now “strongly encouraging” companies to put in requirements voluntarily. “Many have done so already,” he said on ABC. “A third of the Fortune 100 companies have put these in place and many more outside have, so we are certainly encouraging companies to put these requirements in place voluntarily.”

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