Dr. Michael Osterholm is an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases, and from June 2018 through May 2019, he served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the US Department of State. He was awarded a regents professorship in Public Health and is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), at the University of Minnesota. He recently authored an article in The Atlantic in which he described the coming coronavirus winter, which he discusses today.
It had originally been thought that COVID-19 was similar to other coronaviruses like SARS or MERS. However, with those previous pandemics, a patient could most easily transmit the disease five or six days after first showing symptoms, thus allowing medical authorities to isolate them before that time. With COVID-19, patients are most infectious in the earliest stages, often before they even begin to show symptoms. While only about 5% of the population has been infected, it’s likely that the spread will continue until roughly 65% are infected to create herd immunity. Dr. Osterholm claims that key to combating another wave in late summer or early fall is a healthcare system that can handle the surge capacity.
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