U of M infectious disease expert says easing of COVID-19 ‘months away’

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Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it is hard to predict when the state will come out of the COVID-19 restrictions.

He added there is "not a quick fix."

"We know this virus is going to spread," he said.

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Osterholm said Minnesota is doing the right thing by imposing social and business restrictions, but only time will tell if they’ve been effective enough to contain the spread of COVID-19.

"I think, right now, my best professional judgment would say we’ve got at least months ahead of us," he said.

Osterholm said people are making a mistake when comparing this to an influenza virus, because coronavirus spreads quicker and appears to be more resilient.

"The only similarity to influenza is that we know it is transmitted similarly," Osterholm said. "But this is not the flu, and I think you are going to see it come and go where initial cases appear to be successfully held back and then only to have it come back again."

Osterholm said there is "no real data that supports the coronavirus will be a seasonal event," which means the transmission of the virus is likely to continue into the approaching summer months.