Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious disease expert, warned that the next several months will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic.’
When asked about the White House’s controversial push towards herd immunity, Osterholm admitted he didn’t share the administration’s optimism.
‘We’re not telling the full story. We do have vaccines and therapeutics coming down the pike, but when you look at the time period for that, the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the pandemic, he said.
‘Vaccines will not become available in any meaningful way until early to [the] third quarter of next year. And even then, about half of the U.S. population at this point is skeptical of even taking the vaccine.’
Michael Osterholm (pictured), director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, revealed the next several months will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic’
Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, blamed the skepticism on a ‘major problem in messaging.’
He explained that Americans don’t have a ‘lead’ or ‘consolidated’ voice to guide them through the pandemic at the moment.
‘People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward [is] that we’ve got to get a message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality,’ said Osterholm.
He added that the goal of herd immunity was best reached when placing citizens through a vaccination program – not simply allowing them to get the virus – but that would require public support.
‘We need somebody to start to articulate, ‘What is our long-term plan? How are we going to get there? Why are we asking people to sacrifice distancing? Why are we telling people if you really love your family, you won’t go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas and end up infecting mom or dad or grandpa and grandma.”
Osterholm said he believed American citizens did not have a ‘lead’ or ‘consolidated’ voice regarding the pandemic. Pictured: President Donald Trump
‘We don’t have that storytelling going on right now, and that’s every bit as important as the science itself.’
On Friday, there were 70,000 new coronavirus cases in the country – the highest level since July.
Although the White House emerged as a solid front when it enacted the coronavirus task force in January, the facade slowly waned as Trump ignored health experts’ guidelines and dissenting voices entered civil discourse.
Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert on the task force, publicly bumped heads over various issues.
Trump’s more laissez faire approach to eradicating the pandemic clashed with Fauci, who repeatedly called for Americans to adhere to social distancing and emphasized the importance of face masks.
The pair’s most recent clash came over herd immunity, which was reportedly proposed to Trump by medical adviser Scott Atlas.
Scott Atlas, a medical adviser, and Anthony Fauci (right), a top infectious disease expert, have disagreed on the effectiveness of herd immunity
Osterholm (pictured): ‘People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward [is] that we’ve got to get a message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality’
Several health experts have dismissed herd immunity as a viable solution, including Fauci, who called it ‘total nonsense,’ as well as ‘scientifically and ethically problematic.’
Atlas falsely claimed that herd immunity could be achieved once 20 to 40 per cent of Americans were infected.
According to Osterholm, those numbers are nothing more than ‘pixie dust.’
‘First of all, that 20% number is the most amazing combination of pixie dust and pseudoscience I’ve ever seen,’ he said. ‘It’s 50% to 70% at minimum.’
Osterholm reiterated his push for a coronavirus vaccination, saying ‘this virus is going to keep looking for wood to burn for as long as it can.
‘So our goal is to get as many people protected with vaccines.’