“So we have a real challenge on our hands and we clearly are in another surge of cases,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and a professor in the medical school at the University of Minnesota, on MSNBC on Friday.
“It’s a tale of two cities, the vaccine news is good. These are incredible vaccines,” explained Osterholm when asked about the recent rise in hospitalization and infections numbers. “The challenge we have is we just don’t have enough quick enough to get into the arms of people in terms of trying to take on this new variant, this be one one seven virus that it was originally seen in the United Kingdom. The upper Midwest and Northeast right now are experiencing major upticks in cases. And we have a lot of people left that are still out there to be infected. We expect to see this virus spread through much of the south and the west in the weeks ahead. So we have a real challenge on our hands and we clearly are in another surge of cases.”
“One of the things I don’t think people realize, as much as public health measures surely have impacted on a number of new cases. But, think about this. Last April, we had a house on fire in New York. Some states are in the Midwest and we are at 32,000 cases a day. And oh, my, the house is on fire. Then we saw in the Memorial Day time period, the upper Midwest lit up again. About the same number of cases came back down July. The southern states lit up. We had 72,000 cases a day that went back down. Then post Labor Day cases went up in the Midwest again. By November, we were at 200,000 cases. Then cases came back down again. And finally in December, January, we hit over 300,000 cases a day and the south lit up again. So we’ve had these roving regional increases up and down, up and down, up and down. And I think we’re in that right now, except this time we have a much more dangerous fire. Is this B117 virus, at least 70 to 100 percent more infectious and at least 50 to 60 percent more likely to cause severe disease. And the other issue that really is a major challenge is spreading readily in young kids, which we hadn’t seen in the covid viruses prior to B117 virus.”
“I think what we have to do right now is just realize we are in a race with this virus B117, if we can get through the next eight to 10 weeks with limited number of cases, because we do distance, because we don’t give up at the last minute, then I think we have a chance getting into the summer to actually have a more normal summer than we’ve had in the past two years. If we don’t, we’re going to see case numbers climb up and potentially get to where we were in January, where we’re already right now in some locations in the upper Midwest beginning to feel that way. So I think it’s really a challenge, you know, willingly no one wants to be the person who dies from Covid-19 two days before they’re supposed to get their vaccination. So please hold out and we can get there.”