Vice President Kamala Harris has applauded Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for his tireless efforts in the fight against coronavirus pandemic.
“Thank you, Mr Surgeon General Murthy. And in front of all of the friends who are here, I just have to tell you he has been tireless for months and months, working on this issue,” Harris said during a virtual meeting to discuss COVID-19 public education efforts.
“So, in front of everyone, I want to thank you, Vivek, for all you have been doing to lift us up as a nation and to also lift up the importance of following the science and the fact that we are in this together, and so lifting up the power and significance of the collective,” Harris said.
Murthy, who was sworn in as the surgeon general last week, introduced Harris at the virtual meeting.
“I’m so honoured to introduce one of our nation’s most important leaders. One who has broken barriers and lifted up communities, a leader who is kind, and strong, and who inspired millions of people, including myself and a daughter, who called her Kamala auntie,” Murthy said.
“To serve as a surgeon, in my role, I’m charged with looking out for the health and well-being of each and every American. I consider this to be as a sacred responsibility, particularly in this great moment. When we are living through a once in a century,” he said.
Observing that COVID-19 has caused tremendous suffering for millions of Americans, he said many of them lost family members to this virus.
“I myself have lost seven, including my uncle earlier this year. Many of us have also felt what it’s like to be worried about your loved ones getting killed, especially family members of ours who are elderly, or who might work on the frontlines,” he said.
In her remarks, Harris talked about racial inequalities.
“It is very important to the President that we speak truth and address racial inequities across the board, but on this topic, in particular, in our healthcare system. And, again, these disparities existed long before,” she said.
“When we look at the rates of infection and death in the Asian community, in the African American community, Latinos, our native community, the numbers are really unacceptable and tragic. In terms of the impact on these communities, of course, profound,? she said.
This is something that the administration has been addressing, she said.
“We have a Racial Equity Task Force that is very much a part of our whole approach to this. And, in addition, you will often hear the president and all of us talk about the importance of equitable distribution of resources and support,” Harris said.