Skip to content

Virus Expert Warns of "Major Crisis" Ahead

The Delta variant is spreading through the world. Here’s how to stay safe.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

No one told COVID about your fun summer plans; it's crashing the party bigtime, as cases spread through America, the Olympic Games and everywhere, fueled by the new and "more transmissible" Delta variant. As a result, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are rising. Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, appeared on CNN recently to discuss the lives at stake. Read on for five essential life-saving points—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 Warned We're on the Edge of a Possible "Major Crisis"

Emergency medic and doctor moving patient to emergency room in hospital

"We are literally sitting on the edge of what could be a major crisis," said Osterholm. "Let me just point out we're following by about three weeks what's been happening in England. Today, they reported almost 49,000 cases. Had that same number occurred here for our population size, that would be 200,000 cases today. I don't think people understand what the potential is ahead of us. Where this Delta variant has taken off, it has really taken off, and it's seeming to do that around the country here now."


Virus Expert Warned That The Olympics May Be a Superspreader Event

Huge inflatable structure in the shape of a swimming athlete in action

Ostertholm wrote a paper with other experts in The New England Journal of Medicine "over two months ago laying out the challenges for holding the Olympics in Japan," he said, "knowing that this very moment of where the Delta variant would be taking off in Japan, knowing that worldwide this was occurring, and people would be coming with the virus, as well as the fact that volunteers who were working at the Olympics would be interfacing with these athletes." He's tried to work with the "Olympic Committee, with the government of Japan to help them improve their ability to try to prevent transmission. But I think this is going to be a challenge. I hope that we can get through the Olympics without a major event, but I think, at this point, the whole world is witnessing this rapid emergence of Delta. And I think it's going to be a real challenge."


Virus Expert Said the Delta Variant "Will Find You" if You Let It 

Person refuses nurse injection or vaccination.

Osterholm said we "just have to acknowledge that there's a group of vaccine-hostile people out there that are not really hesitant. They're way beyond that.

They will do anything they can to keep people from getting vaccinated. And we just have to basically get the message there. Just remember, this is not in the end an ideologic issue. This is all about biology. This is — the virus will find you if you are not vaccinated or protected from previous infection. And what we're trying to do is keep everyone in this country from getting infected."


Virus Expert Says This is the Primary Thing We Can Do to Stay Safe

Woman wearing face mask looking at camera showing thumbs up after getting the covid-19 vaccine.

"As far as lockdowns, I think that, as a society, we won't go there again, which is what really concerns me about the, what can we do? It is really about getting vaccines into people. That's probably the primary thing," said Osterholm. He agreed with Dr. Vivak Murthy, who issued a warning against virus misinformation, which is being spread on social media and in the media. " I agree 100 percent with the Surgeon General. The misinformation, disinformation campaigns have made getting those people vaccinated" harder, said Osterholm.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Dementia, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta


Virus Expert Warned There Will Still 100 Million Americans Who Are Unprotected

Young man wearing two face masks.

"One last note," said Osterholm. "The number that we all should be focused on, 100 million U.S. residents have not been vaccinated or protected from previous infection, 100 million. That's what this virus has to burn through right now." So 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.

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