A top epidemiologist who has advised President Joe Biden on the COVID-19 pandemic says it is time for Americans to accept that the country is beginning to enter a fourth wave of the coronavirus. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said that as far as the world is concerned, “we really are in a category five hurricane state” and in the coming weeks there will be an increase in cases. worldwide. And the reality will soon begin to become apparent to Americans. “In terms of the United States, we are just at the beginning of this increase,” Osterholm told NBC. Meet the press. “We haven’t even started to see it yet.”
Previous waves have followed a familiar pattern across the country and now it seems to be repeating itself. “I think we are now in that cycle where the Upper Midwest is just beginning to begin this fourth surge,” he said. When Michigan reported 8,400 new cases yesterday, “it was a wake-up call for everyone,” particularly given the growing number of serious cases in people in their 30s and 50s.
Osterholm criticized the way people in the United States seem to ignore the risks posed by the new, more infectious variants of the virus. That lack of concern is due, at least in part, to the way US leaders are not pushing to take the threat seriously. “We are the only country in the world at the moment that experiences this growing number of cases due to this variant and at the same time, we open, we do not close,” he said in Fox News Sunday. “Basically the two are going to collide, and we are going to see substantially more cases.” Osterholm acknowledged that it may not be what people want to hear “but the fundamental message of the virus is that it is going to do what it is going to do, and we are going to have to respond in some way.” Osterholm said it is of particular concern how the new variants make children much more vulnerable to infection. “Please understand that this B.1.1.7 variant is a completely new ball game,” he said. “In fact, right here in Minnesota, we are now looking at the other aspect of this B.1.1.7 variant that has not been talked about much, and that is the fact that it infects children very easily.”
Others, however, are more optimistic that a fourth wave can be avoided. Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said that while young people are driving a new surge of infections in some areas, that doesn’t mean there will be a fourth wave due to increased vaccination. “There are about 200 million Americans who already have some level of immunity,” he said on CBS ‘ Take on the nation. “I think there is enough immunity in the population that you don’t see a true fourth wave of infection.”
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