A member of presumptive President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force issued a warning about the worst spikes in coronavirus cases coming in the next weeks.
Dr. Michael Osterholm warned that anyone who shares air with people in public spaces or in private with people not always in your immediate circle are at risk of not only contracting the virus, but unknowingly spreading it.
“Over the course of the next 12 to 14 weeks are likely to be the darkest period in this entire pandemic,” Osterholm told Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, adding the upcoming holiday season may prove to be detrimental for the spread of the virus.
On Monday, Biden and presumptive Vice President-elect Kamala Harris announced their 10-member transitional COVID-19 Advisory Board. Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy based out of the University of Minnesota.
Osterholm said that the United States should follow the lead of countries in Asia that have corralled the virus better than other places. He credited people complying strongly with government-mandated public health guidelines until cases were able to be driven down.
The adviser said it’s difficult to mirror that approach when many in the U.S. remain skeptical of the severity of the virus, which has become largely politicized.
“I have to say, right now, if they could just spend one hour in one of our intensive care units and the many hospitals in this country right now that are overrun with cases, I think it would give people a subtle wake-up call,” he said. “But right now, we just continue to see people acting as if this virus doesn’t exist.”
Osterholm added that he made a case early on for the first lockdown and said he believes the economy and public health shouldn’t be looked at through a separate lens. He believes that if virus cases surge, the economy will suffer. According to Osterholm, getting the virus under control will help heal the economic damage better in the long run.
“We needed to, in a sense, lock down with the idea that the — what we were doing basically was, in fact, giving us time to get the virus under control and then going from there, and we would pay for it, meaning that we would actually borrow from our savings in this country to pay for that. And that went nowhere. And that’s a real challenge,” Osterholm said.
The U.S. has now surpassed 10 million cases of COVID-19 and has over 237,000 coronavirus-related deaths.
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