Former Surgeon General Adams to Newsmax: Omicron Could Break Hospitals US Surgeon General Jerome Adams receives the COVID-19 vaccine. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Wednesday, 15 December 2021 12:38 PM
It's misleading to think that the omicron coronavirus variant poses less danger than other versions of the virus because its contagious nature could lead it to be the "straw that breaks the camel's back" at the nation's already overstrained hospitals, former Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned on Newsmax Wednesday.
"This pandemic has been going on for two years and now hospitals are overwhelmed," the doctor said on Newsmax's "Wake Up America."
"If you have a million people and you have a virus that has a 1% death rate, that's 10,000 people that die. You could have a virus that has half the death rate, at .5%, but if it's four to five times as contagious, and omicron looks like it is, you could have 25,000 people die."
And with the variant being so much more contagious, that means it's important that people protect themselves by being fully vaccinated, including having a booster shot, said Adams.
He also encouraged people to not be so worried about the omicron variant that they forget that the nation is in the third surge of COVID-19 infections because of the delta variant, "which is still killing over 1,000 people a day."
The delta surge is "traumatizing our healthcare workers," Adams said. "They can see that the majority of the people who are ending up in the hospital and dying are unvaccinated,"
And, the former surgeon general insisted, those deaths could have been prevented.
"That's what your viewers need to understand," said Adams. "I don't care if you voted for Donald Trump. I don't care if you voted for Joe Biden. I'm a doctor and I want you to be safe over the holiday season and the best way to stay safe is to get vaccinated, get boosted. The people who are dying, they didn't make that choice."
Adams said he's also concerned because the United States remains "far behind the rest of the world" when it comes to doing genetic sequencing on viruses.
"We're doing a much better job than what we have done in the past," he said. "That has been ramped up, but the fact is, we're still flying blind compared to the rest of the world. A lot of these, these positive cases we're getting still could be omicron cases and we don't know that. We're calling them delta cases."
The people dying right now are being killed by the delta variant, and the vaccines available protect against that, he added.
"Please get boosted," said the doctor. "I did [and] my wife did. I'm taking my two boys, 16 and 17 to get their boosters tomorrow because we want to be safe this holiday season. We don't want to be overburdening the hospital even with a mild case potentially of omicron."
Meanwhile, Adams said he does not think the nation is facing an extensive booster campaign in the future, but instead, he foresees continued preventative measures such as are taken with annual flu shots.
"We're still chasing after variants," he said. "We can't do that forever, and we won't do that forever. I think once people get their third shot, and we always knew this was supposed to be the third shot, that we will settle into a routine of yearly boosters as long as this virus continues to circulate."
That is no reason to "freak out," Adams stressed.
"We have the tools and the technology," he said. "What's a shame is we have 4% of the world's population, 15% of the world's reported deaths from COVID despite having vaccines, despite having therapeutics. We need to use these tools to protect ourselves."
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