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Virus Expert Just Issued This "Serious" Warning

Things are getting much worse, says Michael Osterholm.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

It's quite serious again, the COVID-19 spread, warn virus experts. Why? The Delta variant is more transmissible and threatening us all. Michael Osterholm, head of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, spoke to CNN about how to stay safe out there, and what's the worst to come. Read on for five points that can save your life, and the lives of children—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.


Virus Expert Warned That Infections Are Out of Control

Patient in ambulance.

"If you look at what's happened in the United States, these cases are just continuing to climb higher and higher. And we have healthcare systems throughout the United States, particularly in the Southern Sunbelt states, that are literally overloaded," warned Osterholm. "They can't take any more patients. And so that's been the big challenge. If you want to put this into perspective, this past week, if Louisiana and Florida, two states in the United States, were actually independent countries, they would have had the number one and number two rates of COVID infections in the world."


Virus Expert Warns Hospitals, Including Ones For Children, are Overrun in Some States

Nurse with thermometer measures fever on patient child in hospital bed, wearing protective visor and surgical mask.

Why the current surge? "Delta is the reason clearly in the United States. We do enjoy an increased rate of vaccination compared to many countries in the world, not as high as in the UK or Israel, but you can still see the damage that this is doing is substantial. Even with kids, we're seeing our pediatric hospitals in the Southern Sunbelt states literally overrun with cases of COVID, including intensive care," sais Osterholm. "So this has been the challenge. And the big question is what's going to happen over the course of the next four to eight weeks. Will we see other states in the United States become hotspots like we're seeing in the Southern Sunbelt states or will in fact they have increases, but not nearly as high as the Sunbelt states. And we can't answer that. I can just tell you that there are 90 million Americans right now who could be vaccinated, who have not had any vaccine at all. That's a lot of people for this virus to attack yet. And it will."

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Virus Expert Said You Are Putting Others at Risk by Not Vaccinating Yourself

unrecognizable doctor trying to vaccinate its patient while she is refusing it.

"You can see in the EU and increasing number of people who are resisting the mandates and feel that they somehow, as an individual can make their own decisions about their health, which is true, but they forget that they're also part of a community where they a result in transmission of the virus to others," said Osterholm. "When they get infected, we have 12 million Americans right now who are immunosuppressed, or have some form of immune deficiencies, not a fault of their own. And these people are yet likely, highly vulnerable."

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Virus Expert Warned Other Variants May Come

Medical staff work in the intensive care ward for COVID-19 patients

"It is true," we may see other variants. "We will continue to see variants as the reality of microbial evolution, that every time this virus reproduces itself, somewhere in the world, it potentially undergoes changes that would result in a different virus in terms of, can it cause a more severe disease? Is it more transmissible or can it escape the immune protection of vaccine or natural infection? You know, Delta's a bad bug. It surely is highly transmissible. If one is going to be more transmissible, it's going to have to be Delta out. That is a frightening proposition in terms of whether or not there is immune escape or the ability for the virus to actually not be, uh, protect us protected from that virus by vaccine or natural infection is still, I can't say hypothetical. It surely could happen. But at this point we haven't seen evidence of that. I think these vaccines are generally working pretty good."

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Virus Expert Warns We Will See Outbreaks in Schools

Teacher and children with face mask back at school after covid-19 quarantine and lockdown.

"There is no question we're going to see outbreaks in schools with this delta variant," Dr. Osterholm said. "The question is how many and how big will they get." So get vaccinated, 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.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek