US Surgeon General Predicts ‘Tough Next Few Weeks’ Due to Omicron Variant
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a total of 2,596 coronavirus-related deaths and around 874,000 COVID-19 cases across the country on Thursday — an almost eightfold increase from a month earlier.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned Sunday that the next several weeks “will be tough” as the number of positively tested with COVID-19 would continue to grow due to the spread of the new Omicron variant.
According to Murthy, the US is currently seeing 800,000 new cases daily. However, the situation has stabilized in some states, including New York.
“The challenge is that not the entire country is moving at the same pace. The Omicron wave started later in other parts of the country,” Murthy told CNN.
The doctor stressed that it is important to “surge resources to hospitals that are struggling,” and “double down on precautions,” including vaccinations. Murthy noted that he is disappointed with the US Supreme Court ruling that banned president Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for large private businesses.
“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,” he told ABC.
Murthy added that the administration nevertheless welcomes the voluntary implementation of vaccine-or-test requirements and “a third of the Fortune 100 companies have put these in place, and many more outside have.”
While the surgeon general did not give a prediction as to the number of infected people that the US could expect in the near term, he underscored that the “most important job of vaccines is to save your life and keep you out of the hospital.”
"This is a very difficult time during this surge. We are seeing high case numbers and hospitalization rates... we're also seeing strain in many of our hospitals around the country," says US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy of the Covid surge.— State of the Union (@CNNSotu) January 16, 2022
"The next few weeks will be tough." pic.twitter.com/WUJhHWxNit
“And by that measure, these vaccines and boosters are working and working well,” he said. “Now, you will hear, as many people have already heard, about people who have cases that are mild or asymptomatic, people who test positive despite being vaccinated or boosted. But keep in mind, what is often being prevented there is a more severe infection.”
On Thursday, the Supreme Court struck down the government’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) COVID-19 vaccine mandate that required workers of businesses with 100 or more employees to get vaccinated or tested every week.