White House Chief Adviser on Public Health Dr. Vivek Murthy said Sunday that he is concerned about the growing number of new coronavirus cases in the country. According to him, part of the blame for the situation lies with social media companies, which have not done enough, as he said, to remove false information on the need to be vaccinated.
“I’m worried about what we’re seeing“Mr. Murthy told a Fox News television program that about 29,000 new cases are being diagnosed in the country every day, about the same level as in April 2020, when the pandemic was spreading for the first time in all over the country. The main concern is the highly contagious variant of the coronavirus, Delta.
“The pandemic is not over. The good news is that vaccinated people are still very much protectedSaid Mr. Murthy.
But he noted that 95% of deaths currently occurring in the US (more than 250 per day) occur among people who have not been vaccinated.
Echoing recent comments by President Joe Biden, Mr Murthy said people were “flooded with misinformation” about vaccines, saying they were unsafe or unnecessary.
Last week, President Biden said the misinformation posted on social media sites was “killing people,” adding that “the only pandemic we have in the country is that of the unvaccinated.”
Facebook, a social media used by millions of Americans, says it has removed 18 million posts with misinformation about vaccination. But Dr. Murthy said: “Despite what they have done, it is not enough. “The goal is good, but I am asking them to do more.”
In another interview with ABC television, Mr Murthy called on Americans to use social media to “verify sources before posting” comments on vaccine efficacy.
The data show that the vaccination rate in the US is significantly lower in those states that in last November’s election voted for former President Donald Trump, who occasionally downplayed the severity of the pandemic. Often, the number of new coronavirus cases is higher in these states which have voted for Mr. Trump.
A few months ago, Mr. Biden set as his goal the vaccination of at least 70% of adults by July 4, US Independence Day. But the target was not achieved and currently the number of vaccinated according to government statistics stands at 68.1%.
On Saturday, Facebook representatives said President Biden and his aides should stop pointing the finger at those who think they are guilty and detail what he did to encourage vaccinations.
“President Biden’s administration has chosen to blame a handful of American social media companies“, Said Guy Rosen, senior representative of Facebook. “The fact is that in the US the acceptance of vaccines among Facebook users has increased“.
Mr Rosen said company data showed that 85% of its users in the country were either vaccinated or had expressed a desire to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“Facebook is not the reason that the target of 70% was not achievedSaid Mr. Rosen.
For several months, Facebook has been cracking down on misinformation, banning the publication of anti-vaccine ads and later removing posts with false claims about them./VOA