US surgeon general warns of misinformation as delta variant surges

Jul 19, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

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.

For more TPG news delivered each morning to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

“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

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 photo of Vivek Murthy, U.S. surgeon general, at a press conference on July 15 by Samuel Corum/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
  • Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
  • Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.