A new, more contagious strain of coronavirus was discovered in the United Kingdom, leading London to enter a restrictive Tier 4 lockdown right before Christmas. With this strain no doubt heading to our shores soon, the Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Jerome Adams, was asked on Face the Nation how we can stay safe and survive the pandemic, particularly with the busy holiday season ahead. Read on to hear his words of advice—as well as his take on why Trump hasn't been vaccinated—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Dr. Adams Said a Lot is Still Unknown About the New COVID Mutation
"It's very important for people to know that viruses mutate all the time," he told host Margaret Brennan. "And that does not mean that this virus is any more dangerous. We don't even know if it's really more contagious yet or not, or if it just happened to be a strain that was involved in a super spreader event right now, we have no indications that it is going to hurt our ability to continue vaccinating people or that it is any more dangerous or deadly than the strains that are currently out there."
Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who will be President-elect Joe Biden's new Surgeon General, agreed during an appearance on Meet the Press. "This news from the U.K. appears to be about a new strain of the virus that's more transmissible, more contagious than the virus we've seen prior to this," Murthy said. "While it seems to be more transmissible, we do not have evidence yet that this is a more deadly virus to an individual who acquires it."
Dr. Adams Says the New Mutation Should Make You Extra Vigilant About Keeping Safe
"The most relevant point is that it doesn't change anything we've been telling you," said Adams. "It just further reinforces the fact that we need to wash our hands, wear our mask lots, keep your distances, keep our household gathering small because if this is a mutation that is more contagious, then that just means that we need to be that much more vigilant while we wait to get vaccinated."
Dr. Adams Says Vaccine Distribution Will Speed Up
Despite some misinformation sent to the states about who gets what when, "I absolutely expect the pace to pick up—something I've said all along to people is that this is going to be the most technically logistically difficult vaccination project of all time," he told Brennan. "So the American people should be hopeful, uh, about vaccines, but we also need to remain vigilant…There's what we actually allocate there's what's delivered. And then there's what's actually put in people's arms."
Dr. Adams Says We Need to Convince the African-American Community That the Vaccine is Safe
According to the Kaiser Foundation, "35% of black adults say they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated. How are you going to persuade the black community in the throws of this crisis to overcome that?" asked Brennan.
"I'm a United States surgeon general, but make no mistake about it: I'm an African-American. I grew up poor black, rural. I know that long before COVID there were many diseases, hypertension, cancer, diabetes, that were plaguing communities of color. And COVID just unveiled those disparities that have been around for a long time. I've talked previously about the history of the mistreatment of communities, of color, the Tuskegee experiments, the terrible treatment of Henrietta Lacks, and her family and how they just took her cells without her permission. We need to understand that this distrust comes from a real place. It actually comes from my office—several Surgeons General oversaw for 40 years, the Tuskegee studies where treatment was denied to black men. And I walk past their pictures every single day when I go into my office. So believe you me, this legacy is important to me and helping restore that trust is important."
Dr. Adams Said He "Walked the Talk" and Got Vaccinated Himself
"We've had many people involved in the review and actually a study participants of color. And what I want to tell people most of all is: I walked the talk. I got vaccinated on Friday. I actually feel great. You know, my mother-in-law and my mother are watching and they've been asking me all weekend, how are you feeling? I feel great. And I hope people will get the vaccine based on information that they get from trusted resources, because it's okay to have questions. What's not okay is to make poor health decisions based on misinformation."
Dr. Fauci Tried to Explain Why the President Has Not Gotten Vaccinated Yet
"From a scientific point of view? I will remind people that the President has had COVID within the last 90 days, he received the monoclonal antibodies," said Dr. Adams. "And that is actually one scenario where we tell people, maybe you should hold off on getting the vaccine, talk to your health provider to find out the right time." As for why the President won't get the shot just to spur others on to do the same, Dr. Adams said, "I would refer you to the White House. I can only speak for me. I got vaccinated. The Vice-President got vaccinated and plenty of Republicans look at him and see him getting vaccinated. And I hope that people will talk to their trusted health providers, and get the information they need to make an appropriate choice to help us reopen our economy and to get back to normal and to save lives."
How to Survive This Pandemic
As for yourself, follow his fundamentals and help end this surge, no matter where you live—wear a face mask, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.