Michael Osterholm is an internationally recognized expert in infectious disease epidemiology. He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota. Look for his book "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Deadly Germs" for more info. https://amzn.to/2IAzeLe
- He describes this as more like a "winter" than a "blizzard" in that this is going to go on for months;
- No one really knows what the mortality rate is but it's become clear there are certain risk factors eg the fatality rate among people over 70 in China is about 3x for men than women but men are much more likely to smoke than women in China in this age group.
- Keeping schools closed is a mixed bag. For one, kids below 9 or so don't seem to get sick or die. In China only 2% of cases are under age 19. There are other diseases like this (eg Hepatitis-A). If you keep kids home, some people will lose their jobs or simply be unable to work as they take care of those children. Some of those people will be health care professionals. The lack of those will likely kill people;
- It's unclear yet what other risk factors (other than age and smoking) there are. Obesity in the developed world is a big cause for concern as this unfolds. A stat quoted is that 45% of people in the US aged 45 and older are obese or severely obese;
- It's largely a question of when not if you'll get this;
- It's a myth that we'll have a vaccine before ~18 months. You can't rush this. It's like trying to rush a pregnancy.
- Italy is a window to how most places will be in ~3 weeks;
- We, as a society, have a short attention span. We could've developed a vaccine for coronaviruses after previous outbreaks (SARS/MERS) but there seemed to be no appetite for that when they faded;
- Disruptions to the supply chain are likely to be the biggest problem. We don't stockpile anything and we're dependent on China for a lot of medical equipment (eg respirators) and a bunch of essential medicines, some of which people will die if they don't receive.
The guest here (Michael Osterholm) is an expert on infectious diseases and the author of Deadliest Enemies .
I can't speak to the reaction of different governments. It's no surprise there's variance. This probably comes down to just 1 or 2 personalities.
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