In this episode, Dr. Osterholm and Chris Dall discuss the state of the pandemic in the US and around the world, the role of booster doses and masks in the months ahead, and the debate on the origin of the pandemic.
Chris Dall: [00:00:06] Hello and welcome to the Osterholm update: COVID-19, a podcast on the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Michael Osterholm. Dr. Osterholm is an internationally recognized medical detective and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, or CIDRAP at the University of Minnesota. In this podcast, Dr. Osterholm will draw on more than 45 years of experience investigating infectious disease outbreaks to provide straight talk on the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm Chris Dall, reporter for CIDRAP News, and I'm your host for these conversations. Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of the Osterholm Update podcast. In a classified intelligence report recently provided to the White House and select members of Congress, the Department of Energy concluded that the COVID-19 pandemic most likely arose from a laboratory leak in the city of Wuhan. But for other US agencies and a national intelligence panel believe that the origins of the pandemic are likely tied to a market in Wuhan, and none of the agencies have much confidence in their assessments. Needless to say, the latest news has revived the heated debate about how the pandemic began and who is responsible. It's a question a lot of people have but may never be answered. How important is it that we find an answer That issue is one of the topics we'll be discussing on this March 9th episode of the podcast. We'll also provide an update on the current COVID trends here in the US and around the world. Examine what the plan should be for vaccine booster shots and answer a query about how long we'll need to be wearing masks. We'll also share a beautiful place from one of our listeners. But before we get started, as always, we'll begin with Dr. Osterholm opening comments and dedication.
Dr. Osterholm: [00:10:41] And surely for the better. We are not seeing the major house on fire events around the world. And we have to acknowledge that most people on the face of this earth, at least at this point, have had exposure to this virus, whether it was through infection, the vaccines or a combination of the two. So theoretically, this kind of protection that exists at the population is helping us. But of course it's not permanent or perfect. Then therefore, we have to ask ourselves, what will it be like six months from now with the same viruses, but maybe not as a population with the same level of immunity And we have to ask ourselves, what does that immunity mean Well, as I just said, keep us from becoming seriously ill but not preventing infection or will in fact, we also begin to see serious illnesses two, three years out. We just really don't know. Fortunately, we haven't seen a dramatic rise in activity with Xbb and at least on paper, the situation so far is improving. As I pointed out, the case numbers are surely coming down, but I don't know how to interpret those because I do believe they are so very, very incomplete. So I think there's still a lot left to think about and consider. And a major piece of that is understanding what happens with immune protection, particularly when it comes to severe disease over time. Chris, you mentioned the European CDC report, which recently mentioned the uptick in severe disease and death, especially in those 65 years of age and older.
Dr. Osterholm: [00:37:09] I saw only three people were in an N95 respirator out of 18,000 people at that concert. Vern and I were two of them. And so from that perspective, I realized that people moved on. They have. And unfortunately, yet we still continue to see the 450 to 500 deaths a day right now with COVID, which, as I've pointed out before, for comparison purposes, remember that the number one cause of death in this country every day for cancer is actually lung cancer. And that's about 350 deaths a day. So we still have what I consider to be this very unacceptable level of deaths. But it again, is in that older age population or those who have underlying conditions. So we now have to take care of ourselves because others are not going to. And we have to acknowledge and understand that. I know that I touched on the Cochrane Review in The New York Times masking op ed in our last episode, but in the spirit of my dedication to truth, I just want to reiterate and summarize the flaws that these two pieces had. First, the Cochrane Review was written by a biased group of people. Simple. No. The way to say it that is the case. It was inherently flawed when the authors failed to recognize that aerosols are most likely the primary form of transmission, not large droplets that fall out shortly after they've been exhausted.
Dr. Osterholm: [00:38:33] They also failed to acknowledge to what extent asymptomatic people can transmit the virus and contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Next, the authors combined the results of community and health care worker studies. This is an issue because they don't take into account the differences in respiratory protection in these settings or the different types and levels of exposures. Additionally, they don't have a control group, which makes it really difficult to make any valuable conclusions. And lastly, they didn't consider health care workers and how they could be exposed to COVID outside of work. The New York Times piece assumed that all masks and respirators provide the same level of protection, which we know is just not true in any sense of the word. And unfortunately, many of the previous studies that have addressed this issue of respiratory protection in of themselves was seriously flawed. As you may recall, we have a link in the commentary we published that we told you about in the last podcast that actually links to a review that we did on why these studies are flawed. So just because somebody had a thousand people on a study doesn't mean it was any good if in fact there are serious flaws. So as I mentioned in my dedication, I really hope we start to see the truth prevail over the misinformation that has been and continues to be spread in a world of social media.
Dr. Osterholm: [00:46:58] Well, first of all, let me just say that, Chris, you are just right on the mark. And the fact that you yourself were at that concert. You can understand that. I just have to tell you, I mean, I know I'm concluding a podcast based on a public health issue today, but if you get a chance, please go see The Boss. He is remarkable at 73 years of age to go three hours straight without a break, literally going from song to song to song in of itself, it is a miracle of nature to watch that happen. It's remarkable. And yes, I am going to use a song from him and a song that I've used for previous times because it means so much to me and hopefully it means something to you. I've chosen the song Letter to You. We used it on September 17th, 2020 in Episode 24: Long Haulers. We used it on a live episode on March 23rd, 2021. We used it on August 12th, 2021, in Episode 64: Straight Talk, and we used it on December 29th, 2021, in Episode 84: Imperfect Situations and Imperfect Solutions. Letter to You is a 2020 single written by Bruce Springsteen and played with his E Street band.
Chris Dall: [00:51:02] Thanks for listening to this week's episode of the Osterholm update. If you're enjoying the podcast, please subscribe rate and review and be sure to keep up with the latest COVID-19 News by visiting our website cidrap.umn.edu. This podcast is supported in part by you, our listeners. If you would like to donate, please go to cidrap.umn.edu/donate. The Osterholm Update is produced by Cory Anderson, Meredith Arpey, Elise Holmes, Sydney Redepenning and Angela Ulrich.
It is very important for me. I kind of work in two different modes. When I am working in production mode and I making a large order for a store it is hard to create meaning in every single piece when you are doing two hundred pieces. But if I am working on a show it starts at a place of meaning and story and narrative. I pay attention to where things are happening and what is going to be meaningful to people in that region.
The twentieth season of the One Piece anime series was produced by Toei Animation, directed by Tatsuya Nagamine and Satoshi Ito. The season began broadcasting in Japan on Fuji Television on July 7, 2019. On April 19, 2020, Toei Animation announced that the series would be delayed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They later scheduled the series' return for June 28, 2020, resuming from episode 930. On March 10, 2022, it was announced that the series would be delayed until further notice due to Toei Animation's network being hacked on March 6, 2022. On April 5, 2022, it was announced that the series would return on April 17, 2022, with the airing of episode 1014.
Blissfully unspoilered One Piece noob takes the plunge and wades through the eight-hundred plus episodes of One Piece for the first time.POSTS: Monday, Thursday, Saturday. TWITTER: @thdray1 Will answer questions there too.DISCUSSION: If you want to join in the One Piece chat, I've set replies to week-long followers only (as spoiler protection). Reblogs work, though, so I'll answer from those too.
The last piece of the puzzle (see what we did there) is a set of plastic models of notable modern and historic buildings in Boston. There are precut holes in the modern map for the buildings to sit in, finally giving you that fourth dimension.
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