Top Biden Adviser Says Covid-19 Is Easier to Spread Indoors Than Outdoors
A medical staff member treats a Covid-19 patient at a hospital in Houston, Texas, on Nov. 8. (Photographer: Go Nakamura/Bloomberg)

Top Biden Adviser Says Covid-19 Is Easier to Spread Indoors Than Outdoors

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It is easier for coronavirus to spread indoors than outdoors as people stay inside their homes during winter which is a perfect set-up for the contagion, according to Dr Vivek Murthy, the top Indian-American advisor to President-elect Joe Biden.

The 43-year old former U.S. surgeon general, who co-chairs the Covid-19 advisory board of Biden, told Fox News on Sunday that people are tired from the pandemic fatigue.

“What's happening now in particular is that with winter, as people move indoors, this is actually the perfect set up for the virus because we know it's easier to spread indoors than outdoors. There is one last component, which is really important, is the pandemic fatigue,” Murthy said.

We’ve been at this pandemic now for many months and I get that. A part of that fatigue means that people are letting others into their bubble, they’re getting together for in-person dinner parties, game nights and public health departments are now tracing more and more cases back to these kinds of gatherings, Murthy, who advises Biden on Covid-19, said.

All this put together has resulted in the recent explosion in Covid-19 cases in the U.S., he said.

The U.S. is the worst affected country from the pandemic with over 11 million cases and nearly 2.5 lakh deaths.

Murthy, who was asked to resign as the U.S. surgeon general during the early part of the Trump administration, is speculated to get a prominent position in the next Biden-Harris administration.

He said that one of the most immediate things to do is to reduce the spread.

“It actually lies in our behaviour and the choices we make. It turns out that wearing masks, keeping our distance from others, washing our hands, these seem almost too simple, but very powerful in actually reducing the spread,” Murthy said.

President-elect Biden has talked about expanding the testing capacity and also increasing contact tracing so that the infection could be contained.

“He wants to increase the production of personnel protective equipment so that all our healthcare workers have masks and gloves. And he wants to really put clear guidance together, evidence-based guidance so that schools and businesses, but also state organisations, huge sports leagues and families know how to operate safely,” Murthy said.

Responding to a question, he said that that national lockdown is a last resort. The country has learnt a lot more about now than it was in the spring early this year.

“If we just lock down the entire country without targeting our efforts, then we are going to exacerbate the pandemic fatigue people are feeling, you're going to hurt jobs and the economy, you're going to shut down schools and hurt the education of our children. So, we go to approach this with a precision of a scalpel rather than the blunt force of an axe,” he said.

Delivering the vaccine, Murthy said, is the most challenging part of this pandemic response.

“Unfortunately, we know from the recent polls that a significant number of people are worried that the process of developing the vaccine, approving it may have been politicised. So now, the onus is on us to be as transparent as possible and helping them understand what the scientists say, having experts review the data, making that data readily, so that even people outside the government can review it,” Murthy said.

According to Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the coronavirus has so far infected more than 54 million people and killed over 1.3 million others globally.

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