Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said Sunday that he understood why Americans were pessimistic and frustrated at this point in the coronavirus pandemic, but said “tremendous progress” has been made over the past two years.
“We’ve lost so many people and our lives have been changed fundamentally,“ he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.“ “But those struggles shouldn’t obscure one critical thing, which is that we have made tremendous progress in this last two years as well.“
Amid the surging wave of cases attributed to the Omicron variant, Murthy said the country has learned how to confront the pandemic.
“We have saved more than a million lives because of vaccination efforts this past year alone. I know it may not always feel like the progress is enough. But we’ve also gotten tools and developed tools to learn to live our lives, to gather with family and friends. And those include not just the vaccines and the boosters, but testing, using masks judiciously, and using better ventilation and gathering in better ventilated spaces,” he said.
Murthy added: “We will get to the end of this pandemic. It’s gone through twists and turns. But we will get there and we will get there together.“
Asked by host Dana Bash about the continued impact of the pandemic on American children, Murthy noted he had two children of his own, ages 3 and 5. He said it was important for parents to let children know it was not a sign of weakness to struggle during a tough time — and that it was important they seek help.
“Starting that conversation is important so kids know that it’s OK for them to come to you for help. It’s also important for parents to encourage kids to seek out help, even if it’s not from them,” he said.
Earlier this month, Murthy issued an advisory on the mental health of the nation‘s children.
“Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real and widespread,” he stated, adding: “The COVID-19 pandemic further altered their experiences at home, school, and in the community, and the effect on their mental health has been devastating.“