U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams argued on Tuesday that when businesses invest in the vital conditions, including housing, well-paying jobs and childcare, they lift up communities and their bottom lines.
Adams made the point during an exclusive interview on “Mornings with Maria” where he discussed his new “Community Health and Economic Prosperity” report, which, according to a news release, “raises awareness of the U.S. health disadvantage and demonstrates to business leaders the opportunity investing in community health can bring to the business bottom line and the health of people and the economy.”
Despite large expenditures on health care, the health of Americans is not as good as it could be, according to the Office of the Surgeon General, which added that the poorer health status creates costs and challenges for families and businesses and can “be a drag on the economy.”
The office added that it is implementing the new initiative to improve health and help promote a more sustainable form of prosperity especially since many of the “poor health problems are rooted in inadequate investments in prevention and unequal economic opportunities in our communities.”
The report calls for businesses to value the needs and interests of all stakeholders, foster a culture of stewardship, develop partnerships with local organizations and use “meaningful indicators” to track community health.
The strategies outlined in the report “can help address the U.S. health disadvantage” and “ensure that the vital conditions are met for all Americans.”
On Tuesday, Adams noted that the U.S. is currently facing record debt and experienced record-shattering unemployment. He also pointed out that “small businesses are shuttering every single day” as he outlined the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent stay-at-home measures mandated by states to slow the spread.
In April, U.S. employers cut 20.5 million jobs, a record-shattering number that pushed unemployment to 14.7 percent, the highest level since the Great Depression, as the coronavirus pandemic triggered an unprecedented economic catastrophe.
The U.S. has recovered roughly half of the 22 million jobs lost during the first two months of the pandemic. There are still about 9.8 million more Americans out of work than there were in February before the crisis began.
In December, the unemployment rate held steady at 6.7%, the Labor Department said in its monthly payroll report, released earlier this month.
Adams told host Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday that the economic issues are related to the virus “and our ability to overcome this will be directly related to our ability to boost vaccine confidence and get people to follow public health measures.”
Adams went on to say that the coronavirus pandemic has "shown us" that if communities aren't healthy, businesses are not going to be healthy.
Adams noted that the goal of the first-ever report on community health and economic prosperity, which he said included partnerships from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, among other organizations, is to help businesses understand that when they invest in their communities, “they make their workforce healthier,” they help create lower healthcare expenses” and “we all do better.”
He also pointed to some of the companies that are already involved, including American Express, Bank of America and Hyatt.
“We need more people to do it to help us recover from COVID,” Adams stressed.
FOX Business’ Megan Henney contributed to this report.