Virus Expert Just Warned of New Surge

While some experts have said the pandemic is "winding down"—or, as comedian Bill Maher put it this weekend, "over"—"The important message here is COVID is not done," warned one of the most prominent virus experts just now. Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, spoke with Freddie Bell on KMOJ to issue a warning about what this winter could bring: more deaths, unless more people get vaccinated. How can you stay safe? 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 . Osterholm Predicts a Fifth Wave

"We still have 65 million Americans who could be vaccinated, who are not, and that is more than enough ‘human wood’ for this coronavirus forest fire to burn. And so what we’ve seen happen throughout the world, where basically we don’t get a large proportion of our population vaccinated—we see these surges, some countries are now in their fifth surge, where cases go up and they come down. Now we don’t really understand why they suddenly start to increase. A lot of them, they suddenly start to decrease. We do know that the level of vaccination has a lot to do with how big that peak of cases happens to be. So in that sense, we have a lot of impact on that surge. So why I’m concerned yet is we still have so sizable number of people who are not vaccinated—65 million in this country alone, that’s a lot of people to still get infected. So we can very reasonably expect that we could see another surge of cases this winter, for example, but we can do a lot about that if we get people vaccinated." Osterholm Said Here’s Who Will Be Hit Hardest

"Unfortunately also we still have gaps in getting vaccine to particularly communities of color and to those who do not necessarily have a medical home, they don’t have a routine clinic. They don’t have a routine doctor, nurse that they see. And so we continue to need to get vaccine to that group and, and they have been disproportionately hit hard by this most recent surge. So I think the message is, over and over again, please get vaccinated. If you don’t, this virus will find you. And unfortunately we will continue to see these increased numbers of cases, particularly in he BiPAP community." "I’m incredibly doubtful this is our last surge, and I think some geographic areas are going to be hit again," Osterholm told the Washington Post . "There’s this waning immunity issue. Is it or is it not occurring, and how much? Could we be back in the soup again when we’re in pretty darn good shape today? What will it be like in 12 months?"

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