“Climate change, as it turns out, has a number of impacts on health,” Murthy tweeted when asked about “the less obvious or more subtle impacts on our health due to climate change.”
”Human health is affected, for example, through extreme weather events, through wildfire and decreased air quality, and through diseases transmitted by insects, food and water. Many times people think about the direct health impact that extreme weather and issues like asthma and heat stress, but there are also other impacts that warmer temperatures can have on human health. For example, warmer temperatures can increase the likelihood that insect-borne diseases, like dengue and chikungunya, might make their way further north into the continental United States as temperatures become warmer and the climate becomes more favorable for tropical organisms to survive.”
But the nation’s top public health official stopped short of President Obama’s assertion earlier this week that blamed climate change for his daughter Malia’s asthma.
And he did not cite climate change or asthma among his top two priorities as surgeon general even though the White House is planning a May 12 summit on the health impact of climate change.
“Obesity & tobacco are two of the biggest health risks I want to focus on. #AskTheSurgeonGeneral – VM”, Murthy tweeted.
The nation’s youngest ever surgeon general expounded on mental health (“In a given year, less than half of the people diagnosed with a mental illness receive treatment.”); vaccinations (“We need to ensure that as many people are vaccinated as possible in order to protect our children and the country.”); and provided college students with “tips for staying healthy in college on the cheap.”
Pointing to the “social determinants of health” included in the Healthy People 2020 initiative, Murthy tweeted that “making the U.S. the healthiest nation in one generation starts with ensuring equity across our communities.”
“Today we understand better than ever before that our health is not just determined by what happens in the doctor’s office or the hospital. It’s also determined by important factors in our community. It’s affected by where we live, where we work, where we play, where we eat, and how we get around,” the surgeon general tweeted.
“We’ve made a special commitment to address these social and economic factors that put people at greater risk for both chronic and infectious disease through the Affordable Care Act, which has already extended critical preventive services to millions of the most vulnerable Americans.”
However, Murthy avoided questions on a wide range of other topics ranging from Lyme disease, pelvic surgical mesh, and medical marijuana to gun safety, pit bull attacks and e-cigarettes, leading one exasperated Twitter participant to remark: “Way to read the teleprompter…could you be any more scripted? #smh.”
Other Twitter users were equally unimpressed. “OMG, 44 seconds of embarrassing left-wing CO2 insanity from Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy” another tweeted in response to the surgeon general’s remarks on climate change.
“When can we do to stop the epidemic of unconstitutional nannying in our #Republic?” another participant wanted to know.