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Virus Expert Just Issued This Alarming Warning

"This is gonna be a collision course with reality," said Dr. Osterholm of the surges.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

COVID cases, deaths and hospitalizations are rising again—especially cases, since the Omicron variant, according to one study, "multiplies 70 times faster within the human bronchus, which delivers oxygen to the lungs, than does the Delta variant and the original virus that was first detected in China," per the Times. How can you stay your safest? Center For Infectious Disease Research & Policy Director Dr. Michael Osterholm opened up about the worrying transmissibility of the Omicron variant on SiriusXM's Doctor Radio's Doctor Radio Reports. Read on for 5 life-saving pieces of advice—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.

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Virus Expert Warns We'll Be On A "Collision Course With Reality" In The Coming Weeks

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"This is gonna be a collision course with reality," said Dr. Osterholm of the surges. "I think that we're gonna see tremendous amounts of transmission. I think we're gonna see a situation where people who are fully vaccinated by the standard two-dose vaccine approach for the mRNAs are gonna feel comfortable. They're gonna say, look it, I did my job, and yet they're gonna get infected by this variant. And hopefully most of them will have only mild illness. We don't know that, but I think also in these family settings are gonna be people clearly who are at high risk." He implores you to get boosted when eligible and vaccinated if you're not yet.

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Virus Expert Says Omicron is Spreading Through the States

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"Well, I think at this point, it's around the world," said Dr. Osterholm. "The number of countries that have found it grows every day. And the ones that haven't reported it yet are largely those that just likely don't have the ability from a sequencing standpoint to say they found it. Same thing is even true within the context of states."

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Virus Expert Pleaded: Be Safe, Not Sorry, This Holiday Season

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"Right now we know with Delta, for example, as just kind of an example that even with the three or with the two-dose vaccine, we use for immune compromised individuals, people who are organ recipients, the vaccine is only 50% protective in avoiding severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths. Now, it's still a lot better tool than none at all in that group. But I mean, what if you and I were going to a party and we were one of those at risk individuals, and we knew that the vaccine we had on board would only protect us 50% of the time from dying. You wanna go to that party? Well, that's the challenge we're gonna have now. So I think that for the vast majority of people, these vaccines are gonna be incredibly, incredibly powerful. They're remarkable tools, but for some it's gonna be more challenged. So I think that the events of the holiday season are gonna be stressful. People should feel empowered to protect themselves. If you don't feel safe being in a family setting as hard as it may be, be safe, not sorry. And I think that's what we're up against right now."

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Virus Expert Warns Omicron "Goes Through Red Lights at 300 Miles an Hour"

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"I want go back to one event because in some ways, some will say this is an outlier. I think what it says is it really was a harbinger of things to come. There was an outbreak in Oslo, Norway, the end of November, where a company had a holiday party and one particular individual flew in from South Africa. He was fully vaccinated as was everyone else at the party, fully vaccinated, meaning two doses. It turns out that they also all had to be tested the day before the event with a rapid antigen test and found to be negative. So they all get together for this party at this venue in Oslo. It turns out that 70 of the 120 people there all became infected from this one individual from South Africa, who had turned out to actually be infected even though the antigen test didn't pick it up. Again, remember I said they were all vaccinated. It was milder illness in the group. They were younger, healthy people, but that transmission's incredible. Well, on top of it, this particular venue they were at also had a regular restaurant part of the venue. And even though these two groups didn't overlap the customers in the restaurant and the group of the party, other than they obviously swapped air, 50 people in the community who were eating in the restaurant, got infected with Omicron. Again, able to show genetically it was the same virus that this guy brought with him from South Africa. Now, we've talked a lot about transmission, infectious diseases. That's really dramatic transmission. And so I think that's the kind of transmission we're seeing happen right now across the world. This thing goes through red lights at 300 miles an hour and we just have to understand that."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.
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Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated or boosted 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more
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