Dr. Michael Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. He was also a member of the Biden COVID-19 Advisory Committee during the time that Biden was elected president and was sworn in.
Osterholm has previously supported sending children back to school. He said that the virus is not a major threat to children. Now, the situation has changed.
“Please understand that this B.1.1.7 variant is a brand new ball game,” Osterholm said at the NBC media meeting. “It is very easy to infect children. Unlike previous strains, we did not see that children under 8th grade were often infected or they were not very sick, and they did not spread to other people in the community.”
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The B.1.1.7 variant was discovered for the first time in the UK. Now it is spreading across parts of the country.
Osterholm said that in Minnesota, more than 740 schools have reported cases of the virus. In Michigan, more young people are admitted to the hospital with more severe symptoms than previously seen in children with COVID-19.
This is similar to what health officials in other countries have seen.
The British Medical Journal wrote two months ago: “Evidence from Israel and Italy (shows) that more and more young children are contracting new variants of COVID-19.”
Seeing this happen in his backyard, Osterholm is now questioning his previous suggestions.
Osterholm said: “Wherever you see this phenomenon, you can see that children play a huge role in the spread of this disease.” “We plan for children in schools against this virus. All of the things actually no longer apply. We must have a new understanding of this issue.”
It is expected that vaccination will help combat the B.1.1.7 variant. However, Osterholm said that there is simply not enough time to rely solely on vaccination.
“In the next 6 to 8 weeks, we will not have enough vaccine doses to overcome this surge, and we will have to find other ways to do this, just like every other country in the world has experienced B .1.1.7 The surge of people must do this.”
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More young people are infected and hospitalized
Emergency physician Dr. Leana Wen told CNN on Sunday that the difference between the previous surge and another possible surge is that “the people most affected now are young people.”
Across the country, the elderly population has given priority to receiving Covid-19 vaccination. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 54% of Americans over the age of 65 have been fully vaccinated, while more than 75% of people in the same age group have been vaccinated at least One dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Wen said that although this age group is now relatively well protected, with the popularity of the B.1.1.7 variant, young people are still vulnerable. Experts say this variant is more contagious and may cause more serious diseases. Research shows that it may also be more deadly.
Wen Jiabao said: “We have seen in Michigan and other places that a large number of people in hospital are in their 30s and 40s.” “Now we even see a large number of children being infected.”
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It’s not just Michigan.
Former Director of the Food and Drug Administration Scott Gottlieb told CBS “Facing the whole country” on Sunday.
“For example, if you look at the situation in Massachusetts, Minnesota, Michigan, you will find an outbreak in schools, and social groups that have never been exposed to the virus before are also infected.”
He added: “According to the current condition of the infected person, the infection is changing its profile.”
In Orange County, Florida, officials reported an increase in Covid-19 cases among the 18-25 year olds at the end of last month.
According to Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, one-third of all Covid-19 inpatients in the county are young people under the age of 45.
New Jersey officials said last week that variants including the B.1.1.7 strain are leading to an increase in cases and hospitalizations, including younger age groups.
National Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli (Judy Persichilli) said on Wednesday that between the first and last week of March, the number of hospitalizations in the 20-29 and 40-49 age brackets increased by 31%. And 48%.
She added that at the same time, older residents only saw single-digit percentage growth.
How can we stop another wave of infections
Experts emphasized that despite the shocking warning signs, the United States is not powerless.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Saturday that doubling safety measures (covering up, isolating from society, avoiding crowds), coupled with rapid and effective vaccination, can help curb another wave of Covid-19.
Fuqi said: “We have to say it over and over again. We need the local people. We need the governor, the mayor and others to say that we have not quit.”
“People say,’Well, you just want to limit us forever.’ No, this won’t last forever, because you will get more and more controlled by vaccinating 4 million and 3 million people every day.”
Hortus estimated on Sunday that the Americans need to insist on “four to six weeks before we can stand on the other side.”
He said: “All the vaccines seem to be equally effective against the British variant B.1.1.7… This is indeed good news.” “I am very confident that we will be in a very good place in the summer.”
Hotez added: “However, if you are not vaccinated, you have to show a high degree of vulnerability to this virus. This is not the time to get sick.”
WarnerMedia’s C-CNN-Wire and 2021 Cable News Network Corporation contributed to this report.
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