US Not Prepared For "Coronavirus Winter" As Containment Window Passes

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, told CNBC on Tuesday morning that the US is not prepared for a Covid-19 outbreak and warns the health crisis will get much worse in the weeks ahead. 

"Right now, we're approaching this like it's the Washington, DC, blizzard — for a couple of days, we're shut down," Osterholm said. "This is actually a coronavirus winter, and we're in the first week."

He warned that the Trump administration has yet to put forth any meaningful containment policy, such as travel restrictions across the country or specific regions, to limit the transmission of the virus. As a result, the virus is "just going to keep spreading. We have to stop fooling people into thinking this is only by close contact where I have to be within 2 or 3 feet. We're going to see much more transmission." 

Osterholm said, "There will be a widespread transmission of this virus around the country, and what we have to do is keep people who are at high risk of having bad outcomes, older, underlying health conditions, from being exposed."

Without containment policies in the hardest-hit areas, such as King County, Washington; Santa Clara, California; Los Angeles; and the Tri-state area, the window for suppression of the virus has long passed. This means virus migration has already started, also suggesting that the outbreak is in the early stages. 

With 755 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the airborne virus is quickly spreading across the US, now seen in more than 30 states, with officials in several states declaring a state of emergency. The lack of test kits, limited travel restrictions, and no vaccine for 12-18 months suggest that the map below will get a lot redder in the coming weeks:

What to expect next if confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise across the country is the banning of large public gatherings and the closure of education systems. Businesses would then likely send workers home. Before you can blink an eye, transportation networks and manufacturing hubs would grind to a halt, and the National Guard would be deployed to keep order. America isn't prepared for a "coronavirus winter."