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Surgeon General Warns Health Misinformation Is an Obstacle 'Preventing Us From Ending' Pandemic

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Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is warning the American people to look out for misinformation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, saying it costs lives.

During a White House press briefing on Thursday, Murthy discussed “one of the biggest obstacles that’s preventing us from ending this pandemic.”

He explained, “Today, we live in a world where misinformation poses an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health.”

Murthy continued, “Health misinformation is false, inaccurate, or misleading information about health according to the best evidence at the time.”

He suggested misinformation “takes away our freedom to make informed decisions about our health and the health of our loved ones.”

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Watch part of the press briefing below:

Murthy claimed during the pandemic, “Health misinformation has led people to resist wearing masks in high-risk settings. It’s led them to turndown proven treatments and to choose not to get vaccinated. This has led to avoidable illness and death.”

He added, “Health misinformation has cost us lives.”

NPR cited polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation showing “two-thirds of unvaccinated adults either believe vaccine myths or are unsure about whether they are true.”

Vice President Kamala Harris called on health workers to combat falsehoods about the vaccine while speaking in Detroit on Monday.

“We got to get the facts out, because sadly there’s a lot of misinformation,” Harris said.

She continued, “So, let’s know what it is, and let’s talk to our neighbors and our friends and say, ‘Here, let me tell you about the facts.'”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki expressed her frustration with health misinformation when a Republican governor pushed back against President Joe Biden’s vaccine plan.

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“The failure to provide accurate public health information, including the efficacy of vaccines and the accessibility of them, to people across the country, including South Carolina, is literally killing people, so maybe they should consider that,” Psaki said.

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