Murthy proposed a somewhat draconian approach to getting together in the joyful season.
“The concern and the challenge we have right now in the country, Margaret, is that we have millions of people who are still unvaccinated, which poses a risk to their lives, but also poses an increased risk of transmission,” Murthy said. “But if you do as many families, you get vaccinated and boosted. You use testing judiciously before you gather, you gather in well-ventilated spaces and use masks whenever you can in public indoor spaces, your risk can be quite low and your holidays can be quite fulfilling.”
Murthy said there’s much yet to be known about omicron. That includes whether the variant is resistant to current vaccines. Federal regulators are already aiming to speed up booster vaccines if needed.
“The important thing is, as we work hard to gain answers to the three critical questions about Omicron, about its transmissibility, its severity and its response to our vaccines and therapeutics, it’s critical that people know we do have tools that we can use right now to protect ourselves against this variant and against the Delta variant, which is still the predominant variant in the United States,” Murthy said.
So far, omicron cases have been discovered in at least 15 states, including New York and California.