Surgeon General: As pandemic improves, 'we should be pulling back on restrictions'

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that as the COVID-19 pandemic improves in the United States, “we should be pulling back on restrictions,” which a handful of states have already done.

Murthy told The Associated Press in an interview published on Friday that he believed that restrictions should start being eased as pandemic indicators in the country improve; however, he stressed that the pandemic is not over yet.

“I think that as the pandemic gets better, we should be pulling back on restrictions. The conversation now is about what should determine when that happens,” Murthy told the news wire. 

“The pandemic is not over today,” he noted. “We are still seeing record numbers of hospitalizations, deaths, and cases in this country.”

He noted that health officials would need to look at several pandemic data indicators before making moves to lift restrictions. 

“It’s likely going to be some combination of the hospitalization rate or hospital capacity itself, which is about health care staffing, about the death rate, and also just about where we’re going in terms of cases,” he told the AP.

Already a number of states have announced that they are or will be lifting indoor mask mandates. Among some of the states that have announced their intentions to lift restrictions are New York, Illinois, Rhode Island and California. 

Some states have stipulations on which people will be allowed to do away with masks, or exceptions where masks may still be required in certain places, like schools.

Murthy told the AP that he could imagine a future without masks, but he said he was not sure when that timeline would be.

“I can’t tell you if it’s coming in a couple of months or in six months or in 12 months,” he said.

Not all health officials, though, are in favor of lifting restrictions. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky urged officials against getting rid of school mask mandates, noting that the CDC's guidance had not yet changed.

"We have and continue to recommend masking in areas of high and substantial transmission - that is essentially everywhere in the country in public indoor settings," Walensky told Reuters in an interview earlier this week. 

During a media briefing earlier this month, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus similarly urged nations to remain vigilant against the virus. 

“We're concerned that a narrative has taken hold in some countries that because of vaccines, and because of omicron’s high transmissibility and lower severity, preventing transmission is no longer possible and no longer necessary,” the WHO official said. 

“Nothing could be further from the truth. More transmission means more disease,” he continued.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post