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Virus Expert Just Issued This "Real" Warning

"We’re not done with the virus. It’s not done with us," said Osterholm.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The COVID pandemic lurches on, as we still have more than 2,000 deaths a day, even as much of the nation is tired of the virus—and of precautions (in some cases, to their detriment.) How can you stay safe? Dr. Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said just that on MPR. Read on for 6 points that will save your life—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs COVID is Hurting You—Even After a Negative Test.


Virus Expert Warns the Virus is "Not Done With Us"

White-tailed Buck (Odocoileus virginianus) backlit from the setting sun at evening

"What do we call a disease that is a real problem, then kind of goes away for a while, but then comes back as a real problem? Do we go from a pandemic to an endemic back to a pandemic?… What we need to come to grips with is we're not done with the virus. It's not done with us," said Osterholm. "Unlike influenza, when you have a new pandemic influenza virus occur, it jumps from animals to humans. It stays in humans, and with humans, eventually, that virus becomes a milder virus infection. It becomes a part of seasonal flu. We've watched the SARS-CoV-2 virus jump to many animal species. We've talked about the issue of the white-tailed deer infections, which has been remarkable. Now we have a whole new reservoir — a term we use to call where the virus might reside, where the mutations can occur. It would not surprise me a bit that we would see more spillbacks from the animal population to humans again."

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Virus Expert Warns New Variants May Come

Scientists and microbiologists with PPE suit and face mask hold test tube and microscope in lab

"There are still real challenges with this virus that we just don't understand, and if it was ever a time for us to have great humility of scientists and public health practitioners, it's now. To say, I hope that in fact, we don't see more variants emerge. That can be really problematic," he said. "But as I've also said, hope is not a strategy and at the same time, if [more variants] do occur, are we prepared for them again? What are we going to do better next time than we've done for omicron, which has literally broken many of our health care systems around the country."

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Virus Expert Warned We Have "Two Pandemics" Going On

media technology and modern lifestyle concept: young woman with smartphone reading fake news at the park

"We have two pandemics going on right now simultaneously in this country and, unfortunately, throughout much of the world. One is the actual impact of the virus itself and the horrible toll it's taking on us. But the second one is the pandemic of lack of trust. I think we're seeing that with governments. We're seeing that surely with the public health community and even to some extent in the medical community," Osterholm told MPR. "This latter one can be as dangerous as the virus itself because it means that this virus can do a lot of things that it might not otherwise do — that we could prevent if people trust what we have to say. I think the challenge we have right now is: We in public health have not done a good job of communicating, what is the risk? What can we do about it? How can we lower that risk, and then when will we put in place certain actions, and when will we take them off?"

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Virus Expert Says We're Setting Ourselves Up For More Trouble

Medic, nurse with face mask and blue nitride gloves sharing a N95 mask.

"We are, in the sense that we want to protect the immunocompromised [and] those who have underlying health conditions that would put them at a higher risk of serious illness. Unfortunately, we are going to have to acknowledge they're going to have to do a lot to protect themselves," said Osterholm about another variant. "I wish we had another answer. And what I mean by that is they are going to have to understand who they're having contact with. They have to know that wearing N95 respirators can do a lot to reduce their risk, and they have to know, particularly if you're immunocompromised, you have to have those four doses of vaccine on board. Not just three but four doses. So there still can be that kind of protection."

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Dr. Fauci Says At Least We'll Be Better Prepared for the Next Pandemic

Temporary Corona vaccination center in warehouse with cabins.

Speaking of virus experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to the President and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, spoke with Government Matters this weekend. Dr. Fauci said we'd be in better place for future pandemics. "We have not only the extraordinary experience of what we've been through, but we also have a number of people already working on things like a pan-coronavirus vaccine, multiplex, diagnostics, discovery, and development of antivirals that's going on right now in preparation for the next outbreak. So you don't hear a lot about that because everyone is understandably and appropriately focusing on the challenge of COVID-19, but already there's an awful lot going on in preparation for what will inevitably, even though we don't know when, but inevitably we'll get another pandemic," he said.

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Doctor's gloved hands using cotton before vaccine.

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 live your healthiest life, don't miss this life-saving advice I'm a Doctor and Here's the #1 Sign You Have Cancer.

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
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