Virus Expert Just Issued This Chilling Warning
COVID-19 is, like the villain in the world's scariest horror movie, back—but in fact, it never left. Cases are surging again because of the new Delta variant and not enough Americans being vaccinated. Concerned, epidemiologist Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, appeared on The Joan Hamburg Show yesterday to sound a warning for us all. Read on for a picture of what the next few months will look like, and how to stay safe—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Virus Expert Predicts a New Surge—Here's Your "Reality Check"
"We are right now in a reality check with this virus," said Osterholm. "And what I mean by that is that this new variant, the Delta variant, which was much, much more infectious is surely going to cause another surge of cases in the United States. This is a virus that is much more infectious than any of the variants we've seen today. And what most people don't understand yet is we still have over a hundred million—let me repeat that number, a hundred million—Americans who have not yet been vaccinated nor have they had COVID yet, meaning that they would have some protection. So as much as we've accomplished with our vaccine programs, we still have a long way to go to protect this group."
Virus Expert Says the Virus is Going to Find These People
Speaking about unvaccinated people, the virus expert said "this virus is going to find these people. It is a highly infectious virus, and this is what you're seeing. Literally all 50 states in the District of Columbia are showing major increases in cases over the past three to four weeks. And today we hit a new high of 53,000 cases, and that is going to continue. So yes, the short answer is we are not at all done with this virus, nor is it done with us."
Virus Expert Said You May be Done With COVID But it is Not Done With You
"Part of the challenge we have is the fact that we do have to live our everyday lives," said Osterholm. "And I think most of America right now is done with the pandemic. They don't believe that it relates to them anymore. They've put in their time. And of course, the challenge we have is, the virus is not done with us yet. And so, as you're seeing right now in areas like Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Florida—you're seeing these major challenges in the healthcare system. There were because of the fact that we have vaccinated, the number of people we have over age 65, we're not seeing that population nearly as much entering into the hospitals and the ICU intensive care units. But we're seeing much younger individuals. They don't get as sick as often, but because of the sheer number of them, they are literally causing severe challenges in our healthcare systems."
Virus Expert Warned the Spread Will Continue
"This is going to continue to spread throughout the United States," warned Osterholm. "As this Delta variant becomes more common and more locations, this won't be a situation isolated to just the South. So I think that at this point, the question is going to be what will America, except as the occurrence of this virus in our communities without doing additional efforts, including getting vaccinated right now, if we have that a hundred million population I just talked about that are not vaccinated, not have had COVID yet. If they were vaccinated, we'd be in a very, very different place right now in terms of what's happening in this country."
Virus Expert Says Wear This Kind of Mask—and Wear it This Way
"We really need people to use high quality respiratory protection," said Osterholm. "If everybody in this country were to use one of these N95s, you can purchase those at hardware stores, online. We now have a lot of them, they're available. Then you start to really talk about protecting people. So it's not about a yes or no. It's about how do they do it. The final piece is, you know, our center has been actually following how people wear whatever they have on their face. And it amazes me that when we do frozen screenshots from TV programs…We continue to see up to a quarter 25% of people wear it under their nose. That's like fixing three of the five screen doors on your submarine. It doesn't do any good." Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear a face mask that fits snugly and is double layered, 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.