Mar 20, 2022 - Health

Surgeon general: No need to panic amid COVID wave in Europe

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy testifies during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 8 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The U.S. should focus on "preparation, not on panic" amid a rise in COVID-19 cases in Europe, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy told "Fox News Sunday."

The big picture: The BA.2 variant, a subvariant of omicron, appears to be driving a recent spike in cases in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Switzerland and other European countries, according to CNBC.

  • While the U.S. has yet to see a major spike in COVID cases, the subvariant represents a growing portion of new cases, with BA.2 accounting for about 23% of new cases, according to the latest data from the CDC.

Driving the news: Despite this new subvariant, Murthy said the U.S. has more tools than ever before to help keep people out of the hospital and save their lives.

  • Murthy noted that the U.S. should be prepared that COVID has not gone away, adding that there will be rises and falls in cases in the months ahead.
  • "When we look at what's happening around the world and over the last two years, we recognize that when cases increase in one part of the world, that often leads to increases in other parts of the world," Murthy said.
  • Murthy also told Fox he's concerned about continuing to fund the tools that the U.S. has developed to fight COVID. Congress pulled pandemic aid from the $1.5 trillion omnibus appropriations bill, which President Biden signed into law last week, in order to get the bill passed.

What they're saying: Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the president, also told ABC's "This Week" on Sunday that he thinks the U.S. will likely see an uptick in cases as European countries have.

  • Fauci attributed this to the combination of the presence of the BA.2 subvariant, the relaxation of restrictions and the waning of immunity.
  • He added that he doesn't think the U.S. will see a surge.
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