CNN Doctors Osterholm, Gupta Warn: Next Few Months ‘Could be the Darkest’ of Covid Pandemic


Americans may be entering the “darkest weeks” of the coronavirus pandemic as a result of new variants of the virus and the dearth of information about them, Dr. Michael Osterholm warned Tuesday.

“I’m certainly not a sports expert, but there are innings in a baseball game,” CNN’s Anderson Cooper noted during an interview on his program with Osterholm and CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. “What inning is this pandemic in?”

“I still think we’re in the bottom of the third or top of the fourth,” replied Osterholm, the director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “You know, I worry the next six to 14 weeks could be the darkest weeks of the pandemic. You know, we’re down now to 150,000 cases a day, which seems down. … And if this variant takes off here in North America like it has throughout Europe, I think we could be seeing numbers much, much higher than we have to date, and the vaccine really won’t save us.

“What I mean by that, we just won’t have enough out in time,” he added. “If we vaccinate everybody that the government has said the vaccine will be available for through April, that’s about 12 percent of the U.S. population. This variant could do a great deal of harm in that time.”

Gupta agreed, suggesting that if a new variant of the virus is 50 percent more contagious than the original version, it could mean an 11-fold increase in deaths among victims going forward.

“Two stats sort of struck me, the percentage of people who think the worst is behind us versus the percentage who thinks the worst is in front of us,” Gupta said. “If the country thinks the worst is behind us … as you just heard from Professor Osterholm, some of the worst days may still be in front, depending on what happens with these variants. Such a significant percentage of people still, when they get infected, and you say where do you think you got this, a significant percentage don’t know. They can’t pinpoint where they’re getting it. That’s a problem.”

More easily transmissible variants of the virus have been discovered in the U.S. after emerging in countries including the United Kingdom and South Africa. A third variant, linked to Brazil, was discovered in a patient in Minnesota on Monday.

Watch above via CNN.

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