Covid-19 delta wave in US is ‘exhausting’: Vivek Murthy

The US Senate voted 57-43 on Tuesday to confirm Indian-American physician Dr. Vivek Hallegere Murthy as the 21st Surgeon General of the United States and Medical Director in the Regular Corps of the Public Health Service. It is the second stint for him in a role he held under the Obama administration, between 2014 and 2017But US ‘at a very different place now because of the availability of vaccines

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has described the surge in Covid-19 cases due to highly infectious delta variant, first noticed in India, which is now the dominant strain of the virus in the US, as “exhausting.”

However, in a podcast interview released Thursday, the top Indian American health official noted that the country is “at a very different place now than we were last year when we were dealing with the waves” because of the availability of vaccines.

“I recognize just how exhausting this is. We hoped there would be just one wave, and then there was another wave, and then there was another wave in January, and now we’re dealing with the delta wave,” Murthy said as cited by the Hill.

Read: Delta variant ‘more transmissible and dangerous’, says Vivek Murthy (June 25, 2021)

Health officials are “not sure” about when the delta wave will peak, ” he said during the podcast interview on the Skimm’s podcast “Skimm This.”

But it is relatively safe to say that the US is “still in the upward portion of the trajectory of this latest surge,” Murthy said and predicted that the country will “likely hear numbers that will be really concerning over the next few weeks.”

“We will likely see cases continue to go up for days more, and likely for several weeks more. When they will peak, and at what level it will peak, we’re not sure,” he said.

The number of hospitalizations and deaths, however, will “likely not surge” to the same levels that were recorded in January because of the existence of vaccines.

Murthy said that if more people had gotten vaccinated against Covid-19 “we may not be seeing the kind of surge we’re seeing right now. We may not have to necessarily put masks back on in public indoor spaces, we may feel even better, you know, about our kids going to school in the fall.”

There’s a high likelihood that a vaccine for children under the age of 12 will be approved during the next school year, he said. “I think the odds are high.”

No vaccines are available yet for children under the age of 12. Pfizer-BioNTech, currently the only company that has an authorized vaccine for adolescents age 12 to 15, announced in June that it was beginning to test the effectiveness of its vaccine for those under 12 years old.

Read: What the US Surgeon General Wants Everyone to Know about the ‘Delta Wave’ (August 4, 2021)

More than 165 million people in the US are fully vaccinated, translating to 49.8 percent of the total population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The White House on Monday announced that 70 percent of adults have received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine.

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