Expert Warns That a ‘Category 5’ COVID Hurricane is Approaching
There’s a storm about to brew—and no, we don’t mean in terms of the weather. We mean in terms of the dreaded COVID-19.
We’ve been through the ebbs and flows of this pandemic—we’ve seen it at all-time highs and even lows. We’ve had lockdowns and quarantines and socially-distanced weddings. And now, things are starting to look up again. Or are they? Not according to one expert.
“We are going to see something like we have not seen yet in this country,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Even though overall cases and hospitalizations have been on the decline for a few weeks, it seems like another peak is coming. The reason: coronavirus variants are starting to spread.
As of now, there have been more than 460 cases of the coronavirus variant first identified in the U.K. in 32 states, according to the CDC tracker.
Additionally, the U.S. has also reported three cases of the variant first identified in South Africa, in South Carolina, and Maryland, plus one case of the variant first identified in Brazil has been found in Minnesota.
“We are going to see something like we have not seen yet in this country,” Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
According to Osterholm, the U.K. variant may cause an uptick in COVID-19 cases during the next possible three or four months.
“You and I are sitting on this beach where it’s 70 degrees, perfectly blue skies, gentle breeze. But I see that Hurricane 5, Category 5 or higher, 450 miles offshore,” he said. “And telling people to evacuate on that nice blue sky day is going to be hard. But I can also tell you that hurricane is coming.”
Hopefully, the vaccine may be able to lessen the storm a bit, as it should be able to protect against variants. The caveat is that we need to be able to administer the first shot of the two-dose vaccine to older adults, rather than waiting on everyone to get their second doses.
“I think right now, in advance of this surge, we need to get as many one doses in as many people over 65 as we possibly can to reduce serious illnesses and deaths that are going to occur over the weeks ahead,” Osterholm said. His prediction, however, is that businesses are going to be shutting their doors yet again.
“What we have to do now is also anticipate this and understand that we’re going to have change quickly,” he said. “As fast as we’re opening restaurants, we’re likely going to be closing them in the near term.”
Are you concerned about the COVID-19 variants? What’s your prediction for how the future will go?