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Virus Expert Just Said This Makes You 97 Times More Likely to Die

We have more than 2,000 COVID deaths a day in America. Here's who's dying.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The coronavirus continues to rage across America, even as cases peak or fall in certain areas. We are seeing more than 2,000 deaths a day. How can you stay safe? And who is most likely to be one of those dead? Dr. Michael Osterholm, an American epidemiologist, Regents Professor, and Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, spoke on Chad Hartman's radio show the other day to tell you. 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.


Virus Expert Said When You Have Widespread Transmission, "You Have to Dampen it"

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Osterholm said the data shows that lockdowns early on worked. "It actually did knock down transmission," he said. "Where it becomes more challenging is when we went through periods where there these quote unquote lockdowns." He means when cities customized their own rules. But overall, the lockdowns worked? "In local areas? Absolutely. New York, Detroit, New Orleans, many places were on fire. That's where those would have worked much more effectively." He added: "When you have widespread transmission, that's the time to dampen it, not when there's low level transmission and we're gonna be approaching low level transmission soon," said Dr. Osterholm. We have to keep our options open. "You've already seen the numbers coming down. That's great news. Now that doesn't mean a new variant is not gonna show up in three months, then we may need to go back and look at it and say, if that happens, what are we gonna do today?"


Virus Expert Said Here's Who is 97x More Likely to Die

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The CDC said unvaccinated people are 97 times more likely to die from COVID than those who are fully vaccinated and boosted. "It's across all ages, it's across all ages. It's not even one age. That's what's remarkable. You know how many things are medicine are that good? Not many, they're not that many. And the data are compelling." He added: "We gotta get over this fully vaccinated as two doses of the booster. It's a three dose vaccine. And if you're immune compromised, it's a four dose vaccine. That's what we need to get people to do." He mentioned a Financial Times report that showed "if we had the same level of vaccination in this country as Denmark has, we would've had half the number of people hospitalized. One half! That's it! Think how different that would be. And all it was was simply getting a vaccine like they did in Denmark."

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Virus Expert Said This About the Use of Ivermectin

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Hartman said: "I was with a friend of mine last night, who is a smart person who was saying, 'I know people who have taken ivermectin and they improved' and there are millions across the country who believe that. What do you say to those folks?' "Well, unfortunately we're all searching," said Dr. Osterholm. "We're all searching for the answers about what can most effectively treat COVID. There's no conflict of interest financially, scientifically whatever, you know—if somebody told me peanut butter would work, I would support it if the data supported that that's the case. The way we collect our data is a classic kind of, we call it a randomized controlled trial where neither the investigator or the patient knows, am I getting the drug or am I getting a placebo, an inert substance, not the drug—water, saline. Remember, there's a lot of people who've gotten better from COVID who've never taken any drug. So of course there'll be those who will take ivermectin for example, who could get better, but it doesn't mean ivermectin caused that to happen. So what we look for are objective data that says, the people who took this drug, this is what their outcomes were like. And the people who took an inert substance of placebo, this is what their outcomes were like. And when we can show a big difference, then that is really the evidence we need to say, 'This is effective.'"

He continued: "Then we have the secondary level of evidence and that is safety. What happens—not only does it make you better, but can it be a drug that can be deleterious to your health, your outcomes? And for some drugs, we actually accept a fair level of the safety challenge because the disease itself is so bad that you gain more from the drug than you might possibly lose in terms of the safety side of it. And so what I do is just objectively, just call balls and strikes here: What are the data support? And there have been multiple, multiple studies to date that have shown that ivermectin has no clinical benefit to patients who get it, same thing as true with hydroxychloroquine. If there were data that suddenly came forward, which again would have to basically be consistent with why do the other studies not show that it works? If that came forward, I'd be the first one to look at carefully and say, did this study really provide some benefit?"

"I think that's the challenge we have today is anecdotal data is just that: It's anecdotal. It's not real data and that's what people often use it as….We do have a process for determining did these drugs work or not. And we will then use that very unbiased. Remember these are blinded studies, it's a separate group that is totally responsible for unblinding it to determine, you know, who got placebo, who got the drug. And that's how medical science has to work to benefit the patient."

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Can Taking Ivermectin or Hydroxychloroquine Cause Danger?

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Taking ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine—"it can" harm you, says Osterholm. "We actually have shown that there's toxicities associated with those drugs" at certain "levels they were often taking them. You'll find that the number of calls to poison control centers has gone up dramatically over the course of the pandemic related to the overdosing on those drugs and deleterious effects. So it's not just a matter of do they work or not, but do they harm you or not? And to the individual who's taken ivermectin and got better from their COVID, once again, I would just come back and say, you weren't part of the study. People will get better, no matter what—what we're looking for is, is there an advantage to take into drug over not taking the drug?"

He added: "I do not for the life of me understand why people will take monoclonal antibodies, they'll take the new drugs that have become available, they will take ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, but they won't get vaccinated. And to me, if you look at the entire scheme of potential impacts on getting infected, having a better outcome, I mean, the vaccines are clear and compelling, but on the other hand, these drugs are potentially dangerous and that's a challenge. Logic damned, it doesn't make a difference."

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How to Stay Safe Out There

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

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 about Alek