Jonathan Ponciano, Forbes |
Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of the White House coronavirus advisory board, said on Sunday that the U.S. will face “major challenges” in battling the pandemic before summertime, warning the U.K. coronavirus strain infects children more easily than previous strains—something experts are still debating.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, called the B.1.1.7 variant a “brand-new ballgame” because of how quickly it has spread among children, citing roughly 750 Minnesota schools that have reported the variant in just the last two weeks.
Osterholm also suggested the U.S. may need to consider new lockdowns before school lets out this summer, saying vaccination alone won’t curb rising cases in the next six to eight weeks and telling Fox News Sunday that “there isn’t a country in the world right now that has seen a big increase in this [variant] that is not locking down.”
“We’re going to have to reconsider what we’re doing,” Osterhold said, noting that the new variant is between 50% to 100% more infectious than previous strains and causes more severe illness about 55% of the time.