“This can be a scary time for people,” Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said yesterday on CBS Mornings. He was speaking about the outrageous rise of COVID cases, fueled by Delta and the new variant, Omicron. “For the unvaccinated, you’re looking at a winter of severe illness and death for yourselves, your families, and the hospitals you may soon overwhelm,” said White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeffrey Zients last week. How can you stay safe? Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.
Surgeon General Warned “If You are Unvaccinated, I Am Worried About You”
“In incoming weeks, we are going to see a spike in cases, and that’s because Omicron is incredibly transmissible,” said Dr. Murthy. “We have to be prepared for that, but there will be a stark difference between the experience of those who are vaccinated and boosted versus those who are unvaccinated—with those who have maximal protection from a vaccination. With a boost, you either won’t get infected, or if you do get an infection, it will be most likely mild. But if you are unvaccinated, then I am worried about you/ I’m worried that your risk of being hospitalized or God forbid losing your life to this virus is quite significant. So it still remains the case that getting vaccinated and boosted is the best way to protect yourself, even against Omicron.”
Surgeon General Implores You to Get Boosted
“The most important metrics for sure are whether we are saving lives and keeping people out of the hospital.,” said Dr. Murthy. “That’s been true since the beginning. It is true now as well. And by that measure, our vaccines are still doing a good job—as you need the booster in particular, though, because with Omicron, there are some evasions of the immune response, not all the immune response, but some, but the booster helps restore the protection that you get from your two doses. So that is the most important measure that we can keeping people outta the hospital. Are we saving lives. With that said, wherever possible we wanna reduce the number of infections because we wanna prevent people from getting Long COVID. We know there are so many people who are unvaccinated, including kids under five. We wanna protect them also from exposure to the virus.”
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Surgeon General Said This Increases Your Chances of Ending Up in the Hospital
“I recognize that with Omicron and all of this news, this can be a scary time for people and it can be fatiguing as well,” said Dr. Murthy. “Right? We’ve been at this for two years. But here’s how to think about the booster shot: The booster reduces your chances of certainly getting severely ill and it reduces your chances getting sick in the first place. But no vaccine is perfect. And especially against a foe like Omicron: We know that there are going to be some people who, despite getting boosted, they may get what are breakthrough infections, but those infections are much more likely to be mild compared to maybe somebody who is not boosted or not vaccinated, who may have a greater chance of ending up in the hospital.”
Surgeon General Said Here are Some Strategies to Stay Safe
“We are certainly in a much better place than we were a year ago. And the reason is this: We have more tools in our toolbox. We have the vaccines and the boosters. We know our masks work to reduce spread. Our testing can also be a strategy to make gathering safer, especially important before you get together for the holidays. And we know how important ventilation is now, not something we fully appreciated a year ago. And so when you gather, well-ventilated places can also make your gathering safer. So we are in a better place with better tools and better knowledge. And that’s why I actually feel confident despite Omicron coming on the scene, that we have the tools to get through this pandemic. We’ve got to sit together though, in this process, we can’t let this pandemic splinter us.”
He also mentioned getting your COVID test as a preventative measure: “The vast majority of tests that Americans are using are working and working well” to identify your possible Omicron infection.
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How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.