It’s easier for the coronavirus to spread indoors than outdoors because people stay inside their homes during the winter, which is a perfect setup for contagion, according to Dr. Vivek Murthy, the senior Indo-American adviser to President-elect Joe Biden on COVID-19.
The 43-year-old former U.S. surgeon general, who co-chairs Biden’s COVID-19 advisory committee, told Fox News on Sunday that people were tired of pandemic fatigue.
“What is happening in particular right now is that with winter when people move indoors it’s actually the perfect setup for the virus because we know it’s easier. to spread indoors and out, ”Dr Murthy said.
There is one last item, which is really important, is pandemic fatigue, he said.
“We have been dealing with this pandemic for many months and I understand that. Part of that fatigue means people let others into their bubble, they get together for in-person dinners, game nights, and public health services. are now tracing more and more cases to these types of gatherings, ”said Dr Murthy, who is advising Biden on COVID-19.
All of this put together resulted in the recent explosion of COVID-19 cases in the United States, he said.
The United States is the worst affected country with more than 11 million cases and 246,000 deaths.
Dr Murthy, who was asked to step down as US surgeon general at the start of the Trump administration, is expected to hold a prominent position in the next Biden-Harris administration.
He said one of the most immediate things to do is reduce the spread.
“It really lies in our behavior and the choices we make. It turns out that wearing masks, keeping our distance from others, washing our hands, it almost seems too simple, but very powerful in reducing the spread.” , said Dr Murthy.
Biden spoke of expanding the testing capacity and increasing contact tracing so the infection could be contained, he said.
“He wants to increase the production of personal protective equipment so that all of our healthcare workers have masks and gloves. And he really wants to put in place clear directions, evidence-based directions so that schools and businesses, but also state organizations, huge sports leagues and families know how to operate safely, ”he said. he declared.
None of this will be possible if the public’s trust is not earned, Murthy said.
“The way you do this is by communicating honestly, leading with science and scientists in the face of this pandemic and ultimately delivering results,” observed Dr Murthy.
Responding to a question, he said the nationwide lockdown was a last resort. The country has learned much more about the present than it did in the spring at the start of this year.
“If we are just locking down the whole country without targeting our efforts then we are going to exacerbate the pandemic fatigue that people are feeling, you are going to hurt jobs and the economy, you are going to close schools and hurt education. of our children. So we’re going to approach this with scalpel precision rather than the blunt force of an ax, ”he said.
Administering the vaccine, Dr Murthy said, is the most difficult part of this pandemic response.
“We have vaccinated Americans for many years in our country, but the campaign that we are going to have to put in place to vaccinate enough people, to create herd immunity in America will be the most ambitious vaccination campaign that I believe in the world. history of our country. And that makes people believe that the vaccine is safe and effective.
“Unfortunately, we know from recent polls that a significant number of people are concerned that the process of developing the vaccine, its approval, may have been politicized. So now it’s up to us to be as transparent as possible and to help them. understand what scientists are saying, get experts to review the data, make it easy, so even people outside of government can review it, ”Murthy said.
“That’s what we’re going to have to do, and ultimately how we allocate this vaccine has to be determined based on need … We cannot afford to let politics infiltrate the decisions we vaccine. , because otherwise, we will put lives on the line, ”he added.
According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the coronavirus has so far infected more than 54 million people and killed more than 1.3 million others worldwide.