A leading infectious disease research expert on Sunday lamented the lack of a “national plan” to battle the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
In an interview on NBC News’ “Meet The Press,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said he’s not focused on President Donald Trump’s early downplaying of the pandemic’s gravity — but is about what the United States is doing to deal with the virus currently.
“That’s what I’m concerned about today,” he said. “I don’t go back and replay February, March. I play right now. What is our national plan? We don’t have one.”
But Osterholm criticized Trump’s explanation of why he downplayed the crisis in the early weeks of the outbreak in the United States as an effort to keep the population calm.
“Telling the truth never causes panic,” he said. “If you just tell people the truth, they will respond and they will trust you to continue telling them the truth. The great leaders of the world have done that.”
Osterholm added that “science has to rule the day here” when it comes to handling the virus, asserting: “I hope we stick with the science and not with all this rhetoric we are hearing.”
According to Osterholm, a vaccine for the coronavirus is not going to be available until early 2021, and a “really hard road” lies ahead of the nation.
“The vaccine … won’t be [available] in any meaningful way until the beginning of next year,” he said. “And then it’s still going to take us months to vaccinate the population of just this country.”
“We really have another 12-14 months of a really hard road ahead of us.”
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