COVID-19: Straight Answers from Top Epidemiologist Who Predicted the Pandemic

from interview conducted on May 29, 2020. Published on June 6, 2020

Dr. Osterholm is arguably one of the most dependable, non-political sources for straight answers on what COVID-19 means to us and our world in the immediate future. In his 2017 book, Deadliest Enemy , he correctly foretells a global pandemic and offers the best strategy for fighting it now and avoiding it in the future.

Here are the highlights of our conversation. But if you really want to understand this disease, read the whole interview. This disease may be the biggest event of our lifetimes.

  • 3 months ago, COVID-19 was not even in the top 75 causes of death in this country. Much of the last month, it was the #1 cause of death in this country. This is more remarkable than the 1918 Flu pandemic.
  • There is no scientific indication Covid-19 will disappear of its own accord.
  • If you’re under age 55, obesity is the #1 risk factor . So, eating the right diet, getting physical activity, and managing stress are some of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from the disease.
  • Wearing a cloth mask does not protect you much if you’re in close contact with someone who is COVID-19 contagious. It may give you 20 minutes, instead of 10, to avoid contracting the disease.
  • We can expect COVID-19 to infect 60% – 70% of Americans. That’s around 200 million Americans.
  • We can expect between 800,000 and 1.6 million Americans to die in the next 18 months if we don’t have a successful vaccine.
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Yes, I’m glad you posted this. I’m eating up as much information from reliable sources as I can.

He does a weekly podcast on CIDRAP’s website:

https://www.cidrap.umn.edu/covid-19/podcasts-webinars

I listened to him talk early on in the pandemic on Peter Attia’s Podcast. He’s supposed to do a podcast on CIDRAP this week on aerosols which I’m eager to listen to. Transcripts of his podcasts are available to those who would rather read than listen.

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We should have completely locked down with only essential workers etc, masks for everyone out. Strict contact tracing and quarantine. If you can’t get surgical masks or n95, get a cloth mask with changeable filters. And wear goggles as well. He is wrong about masks, if you have a good mask it should last a few hours, but it is best to avoid contact.