“We won’t see big national surges — not like we did last January,” Osterholm said in a segment with the network’s Poppy Harlow. “But we’re not done with this virus at all. You know, we have over a hundred counties in this country that have had less than 20 percent of their population vaccinated. We have states where we’re well below 40 percent with even a single dose of vaccine in people. So we have a lot of susceptible people out there that have been not vaccinated, that, for example, should this Delta variant take over, we’ll see local and regional surges that are substantial.”
The Delta variant, also known as the Indian or B.1.617 variant, is more transmissible than earlier versions of Covid-19. Osterholm — who serves as the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota — said it was “all the more reason we have to know that we’re not done with the virus yet,” but left the door open on the possibility that he might be wrong.
“We were really thrown a curveball in March and April when we did predict that B.1.17, or the Alpha variant, would become the dominant variant,” Osterholm said. “Well, it got to the United States and we saw it light up Michigan and Minnesota but it didn’t light up the other states. And we don’t have an explanation for that. Why? It did become the dominant variant but we didn’t see the big increase in cases. So I’ve obviously had a note of caution here with regard to the delta variant, this new one we’re talking about. Maybe the same thing will happen, but maybe it won’t. And we have to be in our business prepared for the maybe it will happen.
Watch above via CNN.
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