Surgeon Gen. Murthy: Omicron Variant Reason For Vigilance, Not Panic

Surgeon Gen. Murthy: Omicron Variant Reason For Vigilance, Not Panic Surgeon Gen. Murthy: Omicron Variant Reason For Vigilance, Not Panic U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy talks to reporters during the daily news conference in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on July 15, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Sunday, 05 December 2021 12:58 PM

The fast spread to the United States of the new COVID19 omicron variant is a reason to be “more vigilant” but “not panic,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy said Sunday.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Murthy said “we do know that the measures we take to protect ourselves from the spread of COVID, those work. And they will work” against omicron as well.

“I am concerned about the possibility that this is going to spread more easily than other variants you've seen to date and we have to get more data to understand the exact extent of that,” he said. “But I do think it is a reason for us to not panic, but be more vigilant, and recognize that the precautions we've been about for the last year or so are all the more important now than ever.”

“We have the delta variant that is causing close to 100,000 cases a day and as winter approaches and people go indoors, it's possible those numbers may go up unless we take the precautions that are necessary like getting vaccinated wearing those masks to make this is a cause for being even more vigilant, but not for panic," he emphasized.

We’re not back in 2020 in terms of handling COVID, Murthy said.

“I think that the measures [President Joe Biden] announced are going to help us for the winter,” he said. “I want to make sure that people understand this very clearly. We are not back in March 2020 despite the prospect of a new variant on the horizon and the fact that we found cases here. We have more tools and more knowledge to protect ourselves.

“The holidays this year will be and have been very different than the holidays and 2020,” he said. “I’ve been able to take my kids trick-or-treating for Halloween. I got together with family for Thanksgiving. Millions of Americans did the same. We can gather safely from holidays and these measures will help us do the same,” he said referring to masks at indoor gatherings and vaccines.