Top U of M epidemiologist: Tighter social restrictions needed to stop COVID-19 surge in Minnesota

Jay Kolls
Updated: October 29, 2020 10:17 PM
Created: October 29, 2020 07:06 PM

After Minnesota hit a record number of new COVID-19 cases Thursday, University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Dr. Michael Osterholm told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the state should consider tighter social restrictions "sooner rather than later."

"It's the old adage, 'You can pay me now, or pay me later,' and right now paying now, in the long run, will pay off," Osterholm said. "The only way to contain this virus is by separating people from each other as much as possible, and that would mean taking a look at more restrictions, if needed."

Record-high 2,872 new COVID-19 cases, 32 new deaths reported by MDH

Osterholm told KSTP the upcoming weeks and months will be the "darkest" time of the pandemic because people are moving indoors with colder weather, and that means more people will be in the same room breathing the same air.

"I think bars and restaurants need to close because we've had a lot of cases, which have spread because of contacts in those types of places," Osterholm said. "However, I do think we have to pay those small businesses for their losses and we can do that with the savings we've accrued at the Federal Reserve during this pandemic."

KSTP's complete COVID-19 coverage

Osterholm said Australia recently had a COVID-19 surge as large as the one in the U.S. right now and the Australian government imposed a very stringent shutdown, which, Osterholm said, did help.

"We know in Australia, for example, the number of new COVID cases started to go down with a four-week restrictive period," Osterholm said. "And by the end of that month-long period, there was not a single new case reported in Australia."


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