Former surgeon general: Colder weather 'perfect setup for the virus'

Former surgeon general: Colder weather 'perfect setup for the virus'
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Former Surgeon General Vivek MurthyVivek MurthyMurthy vows to focus on mental health effects of pandemic if confirmed as surgeon general The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Watch live: Biden surgeon general pick testifies at confirmation hearing MORE, a member of President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenLawmakers, activists remember civil rights icons to mark 'Bloody Sunday' Fauci predicts high schoolers will receive coronavirus vaccinations this fall Biden nominates female generals whose promotions were reportedly delayed under Trump MORE’s coronavirus advisory panel, warned on Sunday that colder temperatures would be “the perfect setup for the virus.”

Calling the current coronavirus caseloads “staggering numbers that we never really thought we would see,” Murthy said on “Fox News Sunday” that the problem largely traced back to the handling of the initial outbreaks in the spring.

“We never got our caseload down to a level that was truly manageable in the spring and we didn’t actually have the testing and contact traces to prevent subsequent rises in infection,” he said.

“What’s happening now, in particular, is that with winter as people move indoors, this is actually the perfect setup for the virus because we know it’s easier to spread indoors than outdoors, but there’s one last component here that is really important, which is pandemic fatigue,” Murthy added. “People are tired, we’ve been at this pandemic now for many months and I get that, but part of that fatigue means that people are letting others into their bubble.”

Public health departments, he added, are increasingly tracing new outbreaks back to such mass gatherings, leading to the “explosive spread that we have.”

Asked by host Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceArkansas governor: Removal of coronavirus restrictions an 'off-ramp' Warner: White House should 'keep open additional sanctions' against Saudi crown prince Rick Scott acknowledges Biden 'absolutely' won fair election MORE what steps Biden intended to take upon taking office, Murthy responded: “What President-elect Biden has talked about in terms of his plan is really a plan that focuses on expanding our testing capacity so we can do better surveillance testing and diagnostic testing but also increase our contact tracing force so that we can contain infection when we find it.”

Wallace also asked if the General Services Administration’s refusal to sign off on the official transition was complicating these efforts.

“It’s very important for the transition to be able to talk to the existing administration and the reason is there are thousands and thousands of career civil servants and political appointees who’ve been  working very hard on this pandemic for many months now, they have plans that are in process, they have data they’ve collected that the public hasn’t always had access to,” Murthy replied. “These dialogues are critical, you want to get them started as soon as possible.”