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The pandemic has taken a toll on everyone, but those who work in health care have suffered disproportionately, according to a new report from the office of U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

And it’s not just the workers who are at risk. “If not addressed, the health worker burnout crisis will make it harder for patients to get care when they need it, cause health costs to rise, hinder our ability to prepare for the next public health emergency, and worsen health disparities,” according to the report.

Murthy is the 21st surgeon general — and also the 19th, having served under President Barack Obama before being reappointed by President Joe Biden. He has worked on not only the covid pandemic but also helped advise on the medical responses to Ebola and Zika outbreaks. Murthy, however, has a special interest in emotional health. While out of office he wrote a book on the epidemic of loneliness, “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World.”

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KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


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Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.