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US surgeon general warns of misinformation as delta variant surges

July 19, 2021
3 min read
US surgeon general warns of misinformation as delta variant surges
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On Thursday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued his first advisory as surgeon general "to warn the American public about the urgent threat of health misinformation," as Murthy grows increasingly concerned about the connection between misinformation and vaccination hesitancy.

"Health misinformation, including disinformation, have threatened the U.S. response to COVID-19 and continue to prevent Americans from getting vaccinated, prolonging the pandemic and putting lives at risk, and the advisory encourages technology and social media companies to take more responsibility to stop online spread of health misinformation," the advisory read, and also noted that nearly 70% of unvaccinated American adults had heard at least one myth related to the vaccine.

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"Health misinformation is an urgent threat to public health. It can cause confusion, sow mistrust, and undermine public health efforts, including our ongoing work to end the COVID-19 pandemic," said Murthy. "From the tech and social media companies who must do more to address the spread on their platforms, to all of us identifying and avoiding sharing misinformation, tackling this challenge will require an all-of-society approach, but it is critical for the long-term health of our nation."

Murthy's release has already affected cities across the U.S., including Los Angeles, where the Department of Public Health reissued a mask mandate that went into effect this weekend following a rise in COVID-19 cases tied to the delta variant.

Related: Israel mulls ban on all leisure travel as COVID-19 cases spike again

On the other side of the country, New York City has seen a period of days with 400-plus new cases and a doubled test positivity rate despite nearly 64% of adults being fully vaccinated, per The New York Times. The delta variant has become the dominant strain across the city and New Jersey, according to NBC News. Springfield, Missouri, remains a hotbed for COVID-19 and has seen nearly 2,000 new cases per day, which Mayor Ken McClure attributed to misinformation spreading on social media.

“My worry is that all this misinformation that’s floating around is having a real cost that can be measured in lives lost and that is just tragic,” the surgeon general said on Sunday during an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union."

Related: Chicago reinstates travel restrictions on Missouri, Arkansas as COVID cases surge

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On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that individuals age 2 and older wear masks in school this fall, regardless of vaccination status.

"AAP recommends universal masking because a significant portion of the student population is not yet eligible for vaccines, and masking is proven to reduce transmission of the virus and to protect those who are not vaccinated," the AAP said. "Many schools will not have a system to monitor vaccine status of students, teachers and staff, and some communities overall have low vaccination uptake where the virus may be circulating more prominently."

Murthy also called on Big Tech to "step up" and acknowledge their role in the dissemination of misinformation.

Featured image by Bloomberg via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

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    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023