WASHINGTON (AP) — Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced Friday that he and his young family have COVID-19 despite their best efforts to avoid infection by getting vaccinated and taking other precautions.
Writing on Twitter, the American doctor said: “When you have been as safe as possible, contracting COVID-19 can be frustrating and disappointing. I felt that. It can also be a source of shame. Many people assume that you must have been negligent to get sick. Our security measures reduce risk, but they cannot eliminate risk. Nothing can.
As new cases and hospitalizations plummet and deaths have finally begun to decline, the Murthy family’s fight against COVID draws attention to the real risks of a virus that many people assume is finally on its way out. .
Murthy, a regular attendee of the White House COVID task force briefings, said he and his wife, doctor and political activist, Dr. Alice Chen, had mild symptoms. She has a headache and is tired, and he said he suffered from muscle aches, chills and a sore throat.
“Our breathing is good, fortunately,” he wrote.
Murthy, his wife and their 5 year old son are vaccinated and boosted. Their 4-year-old daughter is too young to be eligible for vaccination.
The kids pull through, Murthy wrote.
Her daughter, “who tested positive first, is fine”, he said. “The fevers are starting to improve. She is still congested and is now hoarse from coughing, but luckily she is still smiling and enjoying her arts and crafts.
“Our son has a runny nose and a mild fever, but he is eating, drinking, playing with his sister and watching his favorite cartoons,” Murthy added.
“It’s been chaotic at home with all of us sick but I wouldn’t want to sail with anyone other than Alice,” he said.
Murthy was not present at Wednesday’s COVID briefing at the White House. The White House said Murthy had no recent contact with President Joe Biden and that COVID was not the reason for Murthy’s absence from the briefing.
As surgeon general, Murthy spoke out early on about misinformation and misinformation about COVID, urging Americans to follow tested public health advice and get vaccinated and fortified.
The fact that he and his family fell ill illustrates the ruthless efficiency of the omicron variant, which has a series of mutations that increase its ability to evade vaccines. Government officials, however, say the data clearly shows that fully vaccinated people retain substantial protection against serious illness and hospitalization, and for those who receive their boosters, resistance to getting sick is even greater.
Although unvaccinated people are still much more likely to get sick, be hospitalized or die, the omicron wave has also seen many vaccinated people become infected. This has created disruptions in family and work routines and increased the burden on overcrowded hospitals.
Murthy said his faith in vaccines remains unwavering.
“A major source of peace of mind for us: we and our son are vaxed/boosted”, he wrote. “Vaccines are very effective in saving our lives and preventing us from going to hospital. As parents, I cannot tell you how reassuring it is to know that we will be able to take care of our children even if we are infected.
Murthy served on Biden’s transition team as co-chair of the coronavirus advisory council and is said to have a close personal relationship with the president. Her trademark is a gentle and empathetic style of public speaking. Even before the pandemic, he warned of the toll of loneliness in America.
Murthy’s family roots are in India, but in his youth he lived in Miami. His father had a medical clinic, where both parents worked. The son has spent weekends helping and says it was there that he discovered the art of healing.
On Friday, Murthy sought to console those who tried to protect themselves and still fell ill.
“If you did everything you could and still got COVID-19, don’t beat yourself up,” he wrote. “Many of us are doing our best. And don’t assume that those who get sick are negligent. We don’t know people’s situations. They may not be able to protect themselves the way we can.