Tuesday, Dr. Michael Osterholm, a member of President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus task force, weighed in on the new strain of COVID-19 popping up in the United Kingdom.
After emphasizing the need for better testing, Osterholm told CNN’s “New Day” that the new variant goes to show that “nothing will stop this virus from transmitting country to country.”
“The U.S.’s program for sequencing these virus strains has actually been far under what we need,” Osterholm stated. “We need much better testing right now. The second thing is, remember, this has all emerged within the last couple of weeks. And so, the testing of only the strains within really the last two to three weeks would probably have given us the idea of how much of this is coming in from the U.K. or, for that matter, anywhere else. Let’s just be really clear right now: Nothing will stop this virus from transmitting country to country. Our job is to slow it down.”
“Right now, as you know, our hospitals are overwhelmed in many locations,” he added. “Imagine adding on 20% or 30% increased caseloads on top of what we already are experiencing because we have a virus that transmits much more easily. So, we really need to develop a national response, and we are looking forward to the CDC and the White House giving us all in public health an update on what are they going to do about this. How are they going to respond? What can we do to slow down transmission in the United States [of] this variant or the variant from South Africa or wherever these new variant viruses show up?”
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