Skip to content

Surgeon General Has COVID and This Warning

Murthy had advice for Americans who might find themselves in similar circumstances.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

On Friday, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy tweeted that he and his immediate family—his wife, his 5-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter—had tested positive for COVID-19. Murthy said he had muscle aches, chills and a sore throat, while his wife had a headache and fatigue. He reported that his 5-year-old son had a low-grade fever, and that his 4-year-old daughter, who was the first in the family to test positive last weekend, was getting better. In reflecting on his personal experience, Murthy had advice for Americans who might find themselves in similar circumstances, and those who want to avoid them. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


"Nothing" Can "Eliminate Risk"

The couple with protective masks and gloves is listening music and using phone outdoors, modern lifestyle concept in coronavirus season.

"When you've been as safe as you can, getting COVID-19 can be frustrating and disappointing," Murthy tweeted. "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."


"Don't Beat Yourself Up"

Thoughtful girl sitting on sill embracing knees looking at window, sad depressed teenager spending time alone at home, young upset pensive woman feeling lonely or frustrated thinking about problems

"So if you've done everything you can and gotten COVID-19 anyway, don't beat yourself up," Murthy tweeted. "A lot of us are doing the best we can. And let's not assume those who get sick are careless. We don't know people's circumstances. They may not be able to protect themselves the way we can."

RELATED: How to Detox Your Body Fast, Say Doctors


What You Can Do: Make Sure You're Vaccinated

Female doctor or nurse giving shot or vaccine to a patient's shoulder. Vaccination and prevention against flu or virus pandemic.

Murthy stressed the importance of being fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID. "One major source of peace of mind for us: we and our son are vaxed/boosted," he said. "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."

RELATED: If You Have Diabetes, This Is When You'll Begin to Feel Symptoms


"Could I Have Done Something Else?"

Cheerful Smiling Adolescent Patient Showing Vaccinated Arm With Sticking Patch On Her Shoulder After Getting Shot And Thumb Up Gesture.

Earlier in the week, when Murthy said his four-year-old daughter had tested positive for COVID. "I've been certainly thinking about COVID and talking to people about COVID for the better part of two years, even before I was surgeon general. But when it hits home, it always feels a bit different," he told NPR's All Things Considered.

The COVID vaccine has not yet been approved for children five years of age and younger, as clinical trials are still ongoing. "I just had this sinking feeling, thinking, 'Oh my gosh, she's four years old, she's not vaccinated because there is no vaccine available for her age group,'" said Murthy. "And as a parent, my questions were: Is she going to be OK? Could I have done something else to have prevented her from getting sick?" 

RELATED: Here's What Skin Cancer Looks Like, Say Dermatologists


How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael