Dr. Vivek Murthy says he’s ‘worried’ about coming weeks with holidays and COVID-19

Biden’s COVID-19 task force co-chair shares his concerns ahead of Thanksgiving as cases surge nationwide.
6:28 | 11/19/20

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Transcript for Dr. Vivek Murthy says he’s ‘worried’ about coming weeks with holidays and COVID-19
I'm glad you are with us. Pfizer said their vaccine is 95% effective, and they plan to apply for emergency administration within the next is this really good news or should we be concerned about any of this? Give us a reality check about the realities of all of these drugs. Absolutely. Well, absolutely, whoopi. It's really good to be with all of you today to talk about the covid situation we're in. Let's start with the vaccine. Ws we've heard over the last few weeks about the two vaccines, the modern and pfizer vaccines, this is generally good news. Their vaccine candidates were around 95% effective in preventing cases of covid-19. So we couldn't really have asked for a better preliminary result than this one, but this doesn't mean that we're done because what we now need so do is make sure the fda review that is data, so indep scientists can make sure this is effective and safe, and we've got to work on the big challenge of distributing it. You know, what makes a vaccine a vaccination is the process of getting it to your community and into your arm, and that's not a simple process. To do this would require the most ambitious vaccination campaign that we have executed in the country's history, and so we're up to the task, but it's going to be a lot of work. Dr. Murthy, the white house is refusing to let the head of white house operation "Warp speed" work with the Biden transition team even though they want to. How are your efforts being hampered? Biden says more people may die if you don't work on plans to distribute vaccines. It's essential we coordinate. What happens between every transition between administrations is the incoming team works closely with the outgoing team, and they do that as soon as possible. That's twofold. There's a lot of information to share, and that can help make the incoming team's plans even sharper and more effective, and the second reason is many people in the outgoing administration are actuareer officials who will still be there during the next, you know, administration. So you need to start that working relationship with them early, and fortunately we've worked with many of them, but there's no substitute to getng started working with them, collaborating with them. Cooperation is really essential right now and we're really eager to get that process started. Dr. Murthy, we've heard words like grim and unrelenting when it comes to this virus, and there's talk of our medical systems collapsing and hospitals potentially being overrun. I've heard doctors without borders are sending resources to the United States here. What do you expect in the next couple of weeks? What should we be bracing for? Well, sunny, it's a good question, and I'm worried about the next few weeks because here's what we know from our experience with this virus. We know that first cases rise. Then hospitalizations rise. Then the death count increases, and we're seeing cases still skyrocketing which means that we still have potentially a worsening situation when it comes to hospital capacity, and there will be more deaths unfortunately to come as well, and that's very worrisome, and it's, you know, particul worrisome because it's something we don't talk about nearly as often, which is not only the toll on the community, but on health workers. My colleagues work closely with many of thesepeople, and they are tough men and women. They have taken care of victims of the Boston marathon bombing, train derailments, people who have been wounded in the theater of war, but they are struggling right now after months and months and months of dealing with this pandemic, they can't understand why people are not wearing masks or doing more as a country. This will stand as one of the greatest tools of this pandemic is the psychological strain and trauma it's causing our health care workers. They are the angels and the saints, doctor. So we're a week away from Thanksgiving. So give us to us straight, okay? What do you say to people who insist that they want to have company and family and friends over nex week? Because the current administration's covid -- so-called covid adviser, Dr. Scott atlas said they should invite elderly relatives because it could be their last Thanksgiving. What do you say to that? Well, I think it's good as we think about Thanksgiving to use science to guide our decision-making here, and let me say from the outset, I know people are tired. We have been at this for many months now, and a lot of people have turned their lives upside down. It's the holidays. People just want to see their friends and their family, the people they love. I get that. I want to see my family too, but here's why I'm worried, because we've seen in the past that when holiday weekends come, memorial day weekend, labor day weekend and people get together, we see the spread worsen after that. We have to be careful this holiday season, and keep in mind we've got a vaccine, more than one vaccine candidate just around the corner. So this is not an issue we're going to have to deal with for years and years. We're talking about the order of months before we can get a vaccine. For this holiday, we're getting together witheople outside your bubble. One, think about whether there are people getting together who may be high risk. Ifou are going to get together, what you really need to do is keep it small. Limit your groups to no more than ten people, and ideally much fewer than that. Wear a mask at all times. Maintain distance of more than 6 feet. Do your Thanksgiving dinner outside if it's possible, and some of you may wonder, well, how can I eat Thanksgiving dinner with a mask on? Especially when you have your mask off, it is especially important to keep distanced in well-ventilated spaces. People say, that's just too hard to do. I would really reconsider whether you get together with family this year. Hopefu'll have a much better Thanksgiving next year, but if we can buckle down and keep people safe, we can save

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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