Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been a number of experts in health, infectious disease, and other scientific studies that have risen to prominence. The biggest, nationally, is Dr. Anthony Fauci of course.
In Minnesota one of the most famous voices in infectious disease research for decades has been Dr. Michael Osterholm. Now that we’re in a pandemic, Osterholm has become one of the highest profile voices nationally as well. Osterholm has been a guest on WCCO Radio multiple times per week since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has certainly been a lot of debate about COVID-19, especially when it comes to masks, vaccines, government mandates and more. For so many, it has not been about safety as much as it has been about impingement on freedom.
There are outspoken voices in government that are against any mandates. There is currently active lawsuits in Florida and Texas about mask mandates in schools because state leaders are opposed to these requirements. This despite frequent warnings from these health experts about the spread of the variants that are currently leading to an increase in cases worldwide, including in children.
Osterholm, who is the Director of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, says the political arguments around the vaccine are dangerous.
“Well, I think we realize at this point that only part of the discussion, or the disagreement you might even say, about the vaccine is does it really work, is it safe,” Osterholm asks. “It's grounded in so much more than that. Our country is in a very precarious position today in terms of its political ideologies and what people believe or feel.”
It are these ideologies that have created our current environment where half the country seems pro-vaccine while the other half has, so far, refused. Osterholm says that currently there are over 90 million unvaccinated in the U.S. and as long as that is happening fighting the pandemic will be a “tremendous challenge” for our health care system.
Osterholm was a member of President-elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board, is an advisor to the World Health Organization, has served in many roles with the Minnesota Department of Health and written extensively on the topic of infectious disease. His book, “Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs”, lays out the dangers of worldwide pandemics and also provides a ‘battle-plan