With only 4 million of a promised 20 million COVID-19 vaccines administered, Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, promises the effort will "ramp up" and urges you to "have hope," he said on CNN this morning. "We're using everything to get these vaccines into arms," he said. But we're in danger until then—severe danger. More than 350,000 Americans have died of coronavirus, with many more projected to die soon; when asked about President Trump denying these numbers, as he did in a tweet this morning, Adams said he has no reason to believe they weren't true. "What I want people to know is, the projections are pretty, pretty scary, but they're projections—and what we do now matters," he said. Read on to see what he feels you need to do "to temper this surge"—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
"Accept" Your Vaccine
Although the quantities of the vaccine delivery have been well under expectations, Adams has a different fear: That even when it is easily available, you might refuse it. Anywhere from 70 to 90% of Americans need to take it in order for us to reach herd immunity. Speaking of Ohio's Governor Mike DeWine, Adams said: "I saw an article last week that 60% of his nursing home workers have refused the vaccine. And that's something that I'm terribly concerned about."
Related: Experts: say vaccines will work against new variant
"Self-Quarantine" if You Traveled Over the Holidays
"If you gathered over the holidays, outside of your household, without a mask, there's still measures you can take right now," said Adams. If you have been exposed to anyone with COVID-19—and if you travelled, assume you have—"Stay home and monitor your health," advises the CDC. "Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19. Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19."
"Get Tested" if You May Have Been Exposed
The CDC recommends the following get tested:
People who have symptoms of COVID-19.
People who have had close contact (within 6 feet for a total of 15 minutes or more) with someone with confirmed COVID-19.
People who have taken part in activities that put them at higher risk for COVID-19 because they cannot socially distance as needed, such as travel, attending large social or mass gatherings, or being in crowded indoor settings.
People who have been asked or referred to get testing by their healthcare provider, local or state health department.
"Wear a Mask"
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said we all must wear a mask uniformly. And if we can't, then perhaps it should be mandated. "There's going to be a difficulty enforcing it, but if everyone agrees that this is something that's important and they mandate it and everybody pulls together and says, you know, we're going to mandate it but let's just do it. I think that would be a great idea to have everybody do it uniformly," he has said.
"Wash Your Hands"
One of Fauci's safe and effective public health measures, washing your hands is also something Adams has advised. Do it for 20 seconds at a time after contact with germs.
"Watch Your Distance"
Staying six feet away from someone you're not sheltering with is essential to stop the spread. "Social distancing should be practiced in combination with other everyday preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including wearing masks, avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands, and frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds," says the CDC.
How to Survive This Pandemic—Because Adams Admits 350,000 Americans Have, in Fact, Died From It
The morning of Adams' interview, President Trump called the number of cases and deaths from COVID "Fake News" and "far exaggerated," blaming the CDC's "ridiculous method of determination compared to other countries, many of whom report, purposely, very inaccurately and low." However, when asked about this claim, Adams said: "From a public health perspective, I have no reason to doubt those numbers." So follow Adams' and Fauci's 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, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, 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.