Osterholm: Walz's latest restrictions could slow COVID-19 'maybe a little bit'

Osterholm believes much stricter mandates are needed to slow the pandemic.
Author:
Publish date:

Two days after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced new restrictions on bars, restaurants and limits on social gatherings, the University of Minnesota's top infectious disease expert says he's not sure the executive actions will put much of a dent in the state's growing COVID-19 crisis. 

Asked on his podcast, the Osterholm Update, if the measures will be effective, Osterholm responded: "I actually am not sure it will. Maybe it'll cut it down a little bit." 

Walz's executive order mandates bars and restaurants to close by 10 p.m., while also limiting the number of people who can gather at social events like weddings, funerals and get-togethers at family homes. 

"At this point, I don't see anything that's going to have a major impact on this pandemic curve in the United States," said Osterholm, predicting that the country will soon be looking at 200,000 new cases per day "that will clearly overwhelm our healthcare systems." 

Minnesota's ICU wards around the state were treating 580 COVID-19 patients as recently as Oct. 24, but that number has since more than doubled to 1,329 as of Nov. 11. 

The dramatic increase comes after Minnesota began reporting more than 2,000 to 4,000 new cases per day in the final third of October. Since then, the state has routinely reported more than 5,000 cases per day, including a record 7,228 on Thursday. 

Osterholm, who is encouraging people to stay home and "do not swap air with anyone," said the best way to attack the virus without disrupting the economy long term is for a nationwide lockdown for 4-6 weeks. 

"I do believe that if we're going to one, save lives and two, actually have less economic disruption, we are going to have to take much more extreme measures," he said. 

Osterholm called the lockdown Minnesota had in the spring a "soft-soft lockdown" compared to what he thinks is needed now to save lives. After 4-6 weeks of a hard lockdown, Osterholm believes the country could "reopen back up to the extent that we can keep transmission down" for 6-8 months so "we can get to vaccine." 

Follow Bring Me The News on News Break

He also said money could be borrowed from the federal reserve to keep families and business afloat during the hard lockdown. 

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the wages, lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” he told Yahoo Finance. “If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks.”

Osterholm said he has not yet made such a recommendation to President-elect Joe Biden, who appointed Osterholm to his 120-member COVID-19 advisory board. 

Next Up

Screen Shot 2020-12-03 at 5.01.58 PM

Body found floating in Minnesota River in Shakopee

Efforts to identify the deceased are underway.

Hennepin County Government Center

Judge finds suspect guilty in 1991 murder of young Minneapolis woman

A 58-year-old man from South St. Paul, who was 29 at the time, has been found guilty of stabbing a 20-year-old woman

northfield community education center

Northfield school fires employee who allegedly gave melatonin to infant

It's against district policies to give a child anything without a parents' permission.

state hockey tournament, mshsl

MSHSL approves 3 calendars to start winter sports as soon as Dec. 21

The start date will depend on whether the state shutdown is lifted.

hydrocodon-DEA

Drug overdose deaths up 31% in the first half of 2020

Overdose deaths started to increase sharply in March, which coincides with the state-ordered lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic.

los ocampos

Video: Vehicle crashes into St. Paul restaurant

The fire department is on scene addressing a gas leak.

covid-19, coronavirus

Latest county infection rates are sky-high throughout Minnesota

Kandiyohi County is one of the hardest hit counties in the state.

Jenna Fish

Family's warning after teen's tragic death from CO poisoning at Thanksgiving

A 17-year-old girl from Delano died after Thanksgiving due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

Plainview

More than $12K donated to MN gym owner who refused to close

The small business is located in town in Wabasha County.

radio station, microphone

MPR, The Current launch new weekly segment called 'The Warming House'

The program will feature feel-good entertainment amid the pandemic.

coronavirus, COVID-19 test

Dec. 3 COVID-19 update: 92 deaths marks MN's 2nd-highest total

The deaths continue to surge amid the worst of the pandemic so far.

Related

covid-19, coronavirus

Walz indicates more COVID-19 restrictions could be on the way

More targeted mandates are likely on the way, according to Walz.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.47.56 PM

COVID-19 fall peak? Osterholm not expecting a massive 2nd wave

The fall peak has long been dubbed a "worst-case scenario" by Dr. Osterholm.

Screen Shot 2020-05-27 at 1.47.56 PM

Osterholm reiterates COVID-19 going dormant could be bad signal

The infectious disease specialist has said this a few times now.

social distancing, coronavirus, covid-19

Walz readying 'more surgical' mitigation strategies as COVID-19 surges

It's unclear if bars and restaurants will face further restrictions.

PPE, coronavirus, covid-19

U of M's Dr. Michael Osterholm discusses the future of the pandemic

Osterholm has been preaching what he calls "straight talk" about the pandemic.

coronavirus, covid-19

MN health commissioner: Further restrictions 'very possible' as crisis looms

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Minnesota.

school, classroom, students

Osterholm: School districts should decide if they return to school or not

A decision is supposed to be announced "by the week of July 27."