Virus Expert Just Issued This Sober Warning
Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are going down…but with 68 million Americans still left unvaccinated, the virus still has bodies to infect, and threatens to develop more mutations like the "more transmissible" Delta variant. What does this mean for you and how can you stay safe? Dr. Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, gave a reality check on his podcast yesterday. Read on for five-lif-saving points, including which states will be the most affected, and who is dying the most—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
Virus Expert Warned We're Losing 1,800 Americans a Day to COVID
"This virus is doing what this virus does," said Dr. Osterholm. "And we as humans, unfortunately, are doing what we do….While everyone is now beginning to celebrate, in a sense, the reduction in case numbers, if you're in certain parts of the United States, that's not what's happening….This virus doesn't abide by human logic. This virus doesn't act according to what some statistical model predicted it would, it doesn't even care who the experts are and what they're saying about what it's going to do. It just does what it does. … We're on pace to dip back below an average of a hundred thousand cases a day. Of course, that's still a level that would have been jaw-dropping just several months ago when the average was almost 10 times lower, but it's down from the 170,000 cases a day we were reporting in early September. Hospitalizations have dropped below 70,000 per day, their lowest levels since early August."
"However," he warned, "while daily deaths have also been slowly trending downwards, we're still losing an average of 1,800 Americans to COVID each day. Delta has pushed the total U.S. death toll past 700,000 deaths."
Osterholm Said Here's Who Has Been Dying Recently
"Most tragic is how preventable so many of these deaths are—100,000 Americans have died from COVID just since mid-June. At this point, the vaccines were fully available in the U.S. for months. And in fact, over 400,000 deaths have occurred since vaccines first became available. And by our best guesstimate, at least half of all of these deaths, if not more, could have been prevented, had the vaccine been used by these individuals. If we look at those who have died from COVID since mid June, almost 40,000 of them were younger than 65 years. Let me repeat that. 40,000 of those who have died since mid June were younger than 65 years."
Osterholm Said These States are in Danger
"We see this ongoing flow of what I have called before 'viral lava' from those original cases that showed up in the Ozarks, to the spread through the Southern Sunbelt states, to the Southeastern part of the country on into the mid Atlantic, and then upwards towards the Northeast," said Osterholm. "We haven't seen the virus sweep further than the mid Atlantic states. The Northeast has largely been spared with the exception of those Northern border states, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. They have seen sizeable increases just in the past two weeks—Maine has had a 24% increase, New Hampshire and 18% increase in cases while the virus was emerging on the Eastern side of the United States."
"We also saw a similar situation in the Northwest with early cases showing up in Oregon and Washington, particularly Eastern parts of the state and causing a very similar kind of surge activity that was being seen in the East Coast area," he said. "Following the initial surges of activity in Oregon and Washington, we then saw the virus literally start to impact on in states adjacent to those—into Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Northern California, Northern Nevada. And we went through a similar two months cycle in those locations. Now they too are largely showing substantial increases in those areas, but what's happened, we're now seeing it show up in the upper Midwest cases. North Dakota are up 23% in the last two weeks, Michigan up 23%, Minnesota, 16%. This is now another hot spot in the country and emerging. So from where I sit today here in Minneapolis, St. Paul, I don't see this pandemic going away."
Virus Expert Warned Don't Be Lulled Into a False Sense of Security
Osterholm used NYC as an example. "The sense in New York City today is we're done with the virus we're over and they've done a lot to try to make that happen, but they still have millions of people who are vulnerable to this virus. So all I can say is that right now we are in a better place than we were five weeks ago. And if we can continue to get people vaccinated, which is a real challenge, we'll even be better prepared for the future. But right now, please don't be allowed into a false sense of security that this pandemic is over," he warned.
How to Stay Safe Out There
Follow the public health fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don't travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don't go indoors with people you're not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, 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.
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