Epidemiologist Dr Michael Osterholm, who has joined Joe Biden’s Covid-19 advisory board, has warned Americans to “get ready,” as he expects cases to continue to surge, and wants a national lockdown to combat the pandemic.
The Biden adviser said the “darkest months” are ahead when it comes to Covid-19, due to the winter driving people indoors, and fatigue and disaffection affecting their willingness to adhere to health guidelines.
These factors, Osterholm claims, will likely drive daily case figures to a new high.
“Get ready. We’re going to be hitting 200,000 or more cases a day, and we have to get prepared in our hospitals,” he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe program on Monday.
The US has exceeded daily records multiple times over the past few days, including on Saturday, when it recorded 128,000 new cases.
Osterholm is of the opinion that a national lockdown is required to “drive this infection level to a place where we can actually control it.” However, he admitted, compliance is key. “If you interview 50 people, you get 75 definitions of what a lockdown is,” he said.
Citing the success of contact tracing in China and elsewhere, Osterholm claimed the US had fallen short in its battle against the pandemic.
If the government were to impose a national lockdown, the country should help fight the “pain and suffering economically” that comes from people being unable to work and businesses being forced to shut down by allowing the borrowing of “money from ourselves” to “pay people to lose their jobs,” he said. “That would be a very different kind of lockdown, where people wouldn’t suffer.”
The US currently has more than 10.1 million Covid-19 cases, and has so far recorded over 238,000 deaths from the virus.