Minnesota Now with Cathy Wurzer

U of M's Michael Osterholm on why much is unknown about latest COVID-19 surge

Michael Osterholm
Michael Osterholm is the director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.
Courtesy of the University of Minnesota

Minnesota is among the states leading the nation in COVID case numbers. Minnesota had the worst seven-day case rate in the country as of Sunday afternoon.

Hospitalizations are up, and there's a shortage of bed space. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, talked with host Cathy Wurzer about the latest COVID surge in Minnesota.

Osterholm emphasized that despite breakthrough cases, those who are not vaccinated have a much higher risk of hospitalization or death. He also said booster shots are necessary.

“We don’t know how long immunity lasts after a shot but when you get a booster, you do capture some new immunity with a new shot,” he said, adding that researchers will know more six months from now about how long immunity lasts.

Scientists are also learning more about immunity in those who have had COVID-19, but Osterholm said it’s no reason to decide against vaccination, “because you don’t know if you are going to survive the virus.”

Osterholm said he doesn’t know when the current wave of COVID-19 will peak.

Use the audio player above to listen to the full conversation.

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