Assessing COVID-19 Risk as the U.S. Reopens

With certain states loosening restrictions — and others partially in lockdown — there’s a lot of widespread confusion about COVID-19 risks. We talk with University of Minnesota epidemiologist Michael Osterholm about the safety concerns in terms of protests, indoor gatherings, touching surfaces, and why the antibody test is so flawed.

Readable link:
npr.org/2020/06/17/879255417/amid-confusion-about-reopening-an-expert-explains-how-to-assess-covid-risk

I think right now, most of the world — not just the United States, but most of the world — is quite confused about what to do or why to do it. And what I mean by that is, is that already I think we’ve seen pandemic fatigue set in, in the United States. Right around Memorial Day, the country was ready to say, ”We’re done with this. We’re unlocking. We’re going to no longer do the kind of physical distancing that’s been recommended. We should reopen the economy. Let’s let the cards fall where they may.” And I think to myself, wow, that’s what’s happened after 5% of the population has been infected. How might we ever get a population to do what it needs to do to reduce transmission to hopefully get to that vaccine before the disease gets us to that 60 or 70% level.

And I think to myself, wow, that’s what’s happened after 5% of the population has been infected. How might we ever get a population to do what it needs to do to reduce transmission to hopefully get to that vaccine before the disease gets us to that 60 or 70% level.

That’s going to be months and months. This is not what is going to last for a few more weeks. And if you look at influenza pandemics, they all did last for years, not for just a couple of months. And so I think that that’s the challenge we have today is helping people understand: We’ve got to figure out how to live with this virus as much as we’ve had to painfully understand how to die with this virus.


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