US Surgeon General Dr Vivek Murthy has announced that he along with his wife and two young children have tested positive for COVID-19 despite best efforts to stay safe and urged fellow Americans to get vaccinated against the deadly disease that has claimed over nine lakh lives in the country.
In a series of tweets on Friday, the Indian-American physician said that his 4-year-old daughter last week tested positive for the virus first with fever and sore throat.
"My 5-year-old son, my wife Alice, and I have all tested positive for COVID-19. Our son has a runny nose and low grade fever but is otherwise eating, drinking, playing with his sister, and watching his favourite cartoons," Mr Murthy said.
Update: my 5 year old son, my wife Alice, and I have all tested positive for COVID-19. Our son has a runny nose and low grade fever but is otherwise eating, drinking, playing with his sister, and watching his favorite cartoons.— Dr. Vivek Murthy, U.S. Surgeon General (@Surgeon_General) February 18, 2022
Vivek Murthy, 44, said that the family tried to be safe but it becomes difficult when children get sick.
"You want to comfort them when they're unwell. That often requires being close physically. We'd make that choice again, but I feel for those who struggle to balance protecting themselves with caring for family," he said.
Mr Murthy said that he and his wife, Alice Chen, have mild symptoms.
"She has a headache and fatigue. I'm experiencing muscle aches, chills, and sore throat. Our breathing is fine, thankfully. It has been chaotic at home with all of us sick but I wouldn't want to navigate this with anyone but Alice," he said.
While announcing his diagnosis, Murthy spoke to the millions of Americans who have also tested positive for Covid-19, saying that he recognises the emotions that may come with contracting the deadly virus.
"When you've been as safe as you can, getting COVID-19 can be frustrating and disappointing. I've felt that. It can also be a source of shame. Many people assume you must have been careless to get sick. Our safety measures reduce risk but they can't eliminate risk. Nothing can," Mr Murthy, who was sworn in again as the country's top doctor last year, said.
Mr Murthy also stressed the importance of being vaccinated and boosted against the virus and reiterated the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
"One major source of peace of mind for us: we and our son are vaxed/boosted. Vaccines are very effective at saving our lives and keeping us out of the hospital. As parents, I can't tell you how reassuring it is to know we'll be able to care for our kids even if we get infected," he said.
Their 4-year-old daughter is not eligible to get the vaccination.
COVID-19 has taken the lives of several members of Murthy's extended family.
Last year, he said that he has lost 10 members of his family both in the US and India.
"Whether you've had COVID or not, whatever your beliefs may be, I wish for you the love of family & friends. I know it feels like we're in endless conflict. But we are brothers and sisters first with common hopes and common concerns. May we all find healing in the days ahead," he said.
Murthy has occupied the position of America's Surgeon General for the second time. In 2011, former president Barack Obama tapped him to serve on the advisory group on prevention, health promotion, and integrative and public health.
In an earlier tweet, he said that even though COVID-19 cases and hospitalisation are heading in the right direction, they remain high.
"I know we're tired of restrictions and requirements, but as the Omicron wave continues to recede, we will be able to start pulling back on restrictions," he said.
The US is the worst affected country from the pandemic which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019.
It has registered a total number of 78,423,462 COVID-19 cases and 934,316 deaths. Globally, there are 421,565,993 coronavirus cases and 5,873,162 deaths, , according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus data. PTI RS AKJ RS