Top infectious disease expert warns the next 6 to 12 weeks will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic’ as he blasts Scott Atlas’ herd immunity claims as ‘pixie dust’

 Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious disease expert, warned that the next several months will be the 'darkest of the entire pandemic.'

While speaking with Chuck Todd of NBC's Meet the Press, Osterholm gave a grim prognosis for Americans that have already experienced 8.13million coronavirus infections and 219,000 deaths.

When asked about the White House's controversial push towards herd immunity, Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, 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.'

Although infections have been on the rise, coronavirus deaths currently average about 700 a day - far off their peak in April with nearly 2,000 daily deaths. The fatality rate also has dropped, from 60 deaths per 100,000 people to 37 in May down to 27 per 100,000 in June.

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'

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 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

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. 

Osterholm said that figure is worrying and perhaps a sign of things to come.

'Friday we had 70,000 cases, matching the largest number we had seen back during the really serious peak in July. That number... we're going to blow right through that. And between now and the holidays we will see numbers much much larger,' Osterholm said.

 The expert said that regardless of who wins the White House on Nov. 3, leadership on virus response is needed.

 '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? We don't have that storytelling right now,' Osterholm said.

'This is our covid year. Let's accept it. Think through this and do them the greatest gift of all. And that is distance yourself this year and don't expose them. It's not ideal. We know that. But we're trying to get through it.'

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.

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.'

Top infectious disease expert warns the next 6 to 12 weeks will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic’ as he blasts Scott Atlas’ herd immunity claims as ‘pixie dust’ Top infectious disease expert warns the next 6 to 12 weeks will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic’ as he blasts Scott Atlas’ herd immunity claims as ‘pixie dust’ Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 05:55 Rating: 5

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