Infectious Disease Expert Predicts When U.S. Coronavirus Cases Will Again Explode

Michael Osterholm warned a back-to-school surge in COVID-19 “will far surpass what we saw after Memorial Day.”

Infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm on Monday contradicted President Donald Trump’s fanciful claim that the U.S. will soon be in “very good shape” with the coronavirus pandemic, instead predicting “an explosion” in new cases starting next month.

Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN’s Don Lemon that the U.S. is “just really beginning to get to the really large part of the problem” with an average of 45,000 to 50,000 new confirmed cases of the virus per day.

“When school starts both at the high school level and in college and universities, we think we’re going to see an explosion of cases in September that will far surpass what we saw after Memorial Day,” Osterholm said. “And that this is just going to continue increasing, getting higher and higher, in terms of numbers.”

Osterholm elaborated in an op-ed he wrote with Neel Kashkari, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, that was published in The New York Times on Friday. The column argued the U.S. needs another lockdown to slow the spread of the virus.

“We believe the choice is clear,” Osterholm and Kashkari wrote. “We can continue to allow the coronavirus to spread rapidly throughout the country or we can commit to a more restrictive lockdown, state by state, for up to six weeks to crush the spread of the virus to less than one new case per 100,000 people per day.”

“That’s the point at which we will be able to limit the increase in new cases through aggressive public health measures, just as other countries have done. But we’re a long way from there right now,” Osterholm and Kashkari acknowledged. “The imperative for this is clear because as a nation what we have done so far hasn’t worked.”

Check out Osterholm and Kashkari’s op-ed here. See Osterholm’s interview below:

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