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Virus Expert Just Issued This Pleading Warning

"I implore you all" to do this, he said.

As COVID-19 cases have started to decline nationwide, several states have begun rolling back public-health restrictions because Americans are "tired … we have moved on," said virus expert Dr. Michael Osterholm on the latest episode of his podcast. However, he warned, "the virus has not completely moved on." He implored Americans to do one thing to reduce COVID's impact now. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


"Many, Many People Dying Every Day"

Elderly woman wearing oxygen mask sleeping in hospital bed

The Omicron variant created a record-high number of daily COVID-19 cases. Although this daily average is now in decline, it still exceeds previous peaks of the virus. "We have come down substantially," said Osterholm. "But even on the backside of the peak, look at what we're experiencing."

And that is an excess of deaths. "We still have many, many people in this country who are dying every day from COVID," said Osterholm. "And we can't forget those people. They are our mothers and our fathers, our brothers, and our sisters, our grandpas and our grandmas. And unfortunately, they are even sometimes our kids … we're not done." 

Osterholm went on to recommend one step everyone should take to protect themselves and their loved ones against COVID at this point.


Booster Shots Are Necessary, "Not a Luxury Dose"

Nurse with face mask sitting at home with senior woman and injecting covid 19 vaccine.

Citing evidence that a third vaccine dose strongly protects against COVID hospitalization and death, Osterholm said that more Americans need to get one—and our thinking about that third dose needs to change. 

"We have to start thinking about a three-dose vaccine as the primary series," he said. "Skip that term 'booster.' I don't like it. I think it's misleading. And it really is. I think it's doing a disservice by having people think, well, that's kind of a luxury dose. It's not."


"Can't Urge You Any More Strongly" to Get a Third Vaccine Dose

Close up shot of hands checking Covid-19 vaccine report card and ticking 3rd or booster dose after vaccination.

Osterholm said one study found that vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization dropped to 54% several months after two doses. Several months after three doses, it was 78%.

"These third doses are important," he said. "Please understand—you may not prevent an Omicron-related infection right now with your third dose, but the chances you have of avoiding a very severe illness, a hospitalization, and even death is absolutely one of the benefits of being vaccinated with that third dose. I can't urge you any more strongly than that to get vaccinated with that third dose."


"Please … I Implore You All"

Family after getting covid-19 vaccine.

Osterholm noted that only 40% of people who've gotten two doses of vaccine have gotten a third dose.

"Please, if I can implore you all," he said, "if you have a grandma or grandpa, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, or a daughter, a friend, somebody who might not be your friend but you still don't want something bad to happen to him—please help them get that third dose. It's important." 

Additionally, Osterholm said, it's crucial for people who are immunocompromised to follow current recommendations and get a fourth dose of vaccine.


How to Stay Safe Out There

Young woman close-up portrait while wearing face mask.

Follow the 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 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.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor. Read more about Michael