Virus Expert Sounds This Dire COVID Alarm
The coronavirus pandemic is not over, with the seven day average of new infections at around 69,000 cases—and cases flaring in Michigan and the Northeast. The regional pattern is confounding experts, but Michael Osterholm, an American epidemiologist and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, can sum it up, even if he can't explain it all: "This is far from over," he said on his podcast Thursday. Read on for all 5 essential points you've got to hear—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss this urgent news: Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.
The Virus Expert Warned "We Will Pay a Price Over the Coming Weeks Ahead"
The opening up of the country can be partly to blame for the rising cases; in Michigan, the CDC has advised the Governor there to "shut down." "We're opening up, not locking down," said Osterholm. "Now, people aren't going to want to hear this lockdown issue, but I do fear we will still pay a price over the coming weeks ahead." He said he can't explain why the virus is cycling between regions—flaming in the Northeast now, and Michigan, while it's toned down in Texas—but he says: "I think that this is one of those moments where it's unbalanced, what do we do? This is a balancing act. No one wants to lock down. So I just want to leave you with the fact that at this point—this is far from over, this is far from over." Read on to find out what might happen where you live.
What's Happening in Michigan May Happen in Your State
In "Michigan," says Osterholm, there's "surely a possible scenario yet to unfold around the country. Cases have reached levels reported during the peak of the state's fall surge. School-related outbreaks continue to be the leading setting for outbreaks in Michigan—of the 903 ongoing outbreaks that they are aware of 264 related to K through 12 schools, notably cases among kids 10 to 19 have quadrupled in the last four weeks. And now we're at an all time high. A number of outbreaks also have been tied to other settings like manufacturing and construction—160 such outbreaks, the second most behind schools. Hospitalizations are also approaching record highs." There are nearly as many people hospitalized as during the November peak. "As of April 12, there were 4,118" hospitalized. "One month ago, March 13th, there were only 976 hospitalized. So it's increased literally by almost 3,000 plus cases since then."
More Kids are Spreading the Virus This Time
In Michigan, "49 children are currently hospitalized, which is a record high at any time since the pandemic begun," said Osterholm. "Cases among kids 10 to 19 have quadrupled in the last four weeks. This time around kids appear to be very involved in transmission patterns that we hadn't seen before. And they in fact, are driving in some instances, community transmission." He says unless schools shut down things like sports where there is a high spread, and follow the CDC guidelines, "I believe we're still going to keep climbing. We're going to see more and more schools impacted in the next several weeks."
The Virus Expert Says There Was Some Good News
"This has been remarkable, what we've been able to do as a country with regard to vaccination of the U.S. population," said Osterholm. "120 million plus have received at least one dose and 74 million are fully vaccinated. That's 36.4% with one dose, 22.3% being fully vaccinated of the U.S. population—65 years of age and older, 78.9% have received at least one dose 62% are fully vaccinated. I remind everyone that there are still 13 million plus individuals, 65 years of age and older in the United States, that have not yet been vaccinated at all. There is substantial regional variation, with the Southern States of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee, having the lowest per capita doses administered in the U.S."
How to Stay Safe No Matter Where You Live
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—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, get vaccinated when it becomes available to you, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don't visit any of these Here's How You Can Catch COVID Even If You're Vaccinated.