U of M's top infectious disease expert talks about current COVID-19 situation | KSTP.com

U of M's top infectious disease expert talks about current COVID-19 situation

Updated: September 01, 2020 06:20 AM
Created: September 01, 2020 06:20 AM

Many of us are wondering, how much longer will this pandemic be around and affecting our lives?

One of the state's top doctors says we still have a long way to go.

We've seen business shutdowns, school closures and a mask mandate.

Currently, Minnesota is seeing fewer COVID-related deaths and hospitalizations.

"We've moved from inning two to inning three and I would say we're probably in inning four, and in some places in the world we may be in inning five, even," Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said. "But, we still have a long way to go."

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Osterholm says Minnesota's health department and clinical care across the state has been, in his opinion, excellent. 

The use of convalescent plasma is promising. Antibodies in the blood of COVID-19 patients who've contracted the virus and recovered are now being used in an expanded experimental way to treat others battling the illness.

But Osterholm says the treatment still needs more definitive clinical trials and he says Minnesota could still improve when it comes to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

"This is not something the public wants to hear, but if you look today, look at bars, restaurants, public venues and all the populations that are out there shoulder-to-shoulder, often without masks, and exposing each other," Osterholm said. "Look at what we are seeing in just some of the outbreaks. We've had 47 bar outbreaks this summer here in Minnesota. We've had 55 other outbreaks that involve funerals and weddings."

Recently, the first few "reinfections" of the coronavirus were confirmed around the world.

Osterholm also says health officials are slowly learning more about the long-term effects of the virus, including how it can affect the body even after a person has appeared to have recovered.

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