Tags: Coronavirus | osterholm | pandemic | social distancing | second wave

Dr. Osterholm: COVID-19 a 'Forest Fire,' US Must Return to 'Square One'

osterhom in a black suit and light blue shirt standing at a podium
Dr. Michael Osterholm (Glen Stubbe/AP Photo)

By    |   Thursday, 09 July 2020 02:22 PM

There is no evidence that there will ever be a "second wave" of coronavirus infections, but instead, it will more likely keep burning like a "forest fire," and if the United States hopes to get the pandemic under control, it must return to square one, Dr. Michael Osterholm, head of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said Thursday. 

"At this point, we don't have any evidence this will be like an influenza pandemic where basically you see a first wave, [where] cases disappear regardless of what humans do, and two to three months later, you have a second surge," Osterholm said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "This is a coronavirus pandemic and what is happening is this is like a forest fire. It keeps burning and burning looking for human wood."

And, to stop that spread, the United States must go back to what it was trying to do in March and April. 

"We didn't put it all out," said Osterholm. "We let it come back ... if we don't bring this all down, it will continue. It's kind of like arguing with 100 2-year-olds. Basically this virus is going to keep going. You have a better chance of winning an argument with the 2-year-olds than you do with this virus."

He added that the United States, as a nation, is "just in the very early days" of the pandemic, as about 7% of the population has been infected to date.

"This virus will not rest until it gets to 50% to 70% of the population infected, and only then it will slow down," said Osterholm. "What we need right now are really firm and very specific recommendations about what to do and then the willingness to carry them out. Part of my concern is that we've not convinced much of the U.S. population that this is very important ... what we need right now is the kind of moral leadership across public health, across government, across our society to say, 'Wake up, America, either get with the program or the next year is going to be one ongoing tragedy.'"

And, as the disease is showing evidence of being airborne, there is no single method for protection, Osterholm said. 

"Distancing is huge," he said. "Distance, distance, and distance. That only occurs when people are not congregating altogether."

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There is no evidence that there will ever be a "second wave" of coronavirus infections, but instead, it will more likely keep burning like a "forest fire," and if the United States hopes to get the pandemic under control, it must return to square one, Dr. Michael Osterholm, head of the...
osterholm, pandemic, social distancing, second wave
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2020-22-09
Thursday, 09 July 2020 02:22 PM
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