Just two years after the first Covid-19 cluster was reported, more than 800,000 people in the U.S. have died from it.

Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said, “I had a sense [in early 2020] that this was going to be a prolonged and very damaging pandemic. What I didn’t understand at the time, and has surely influenced how I think it’s going to keep going, is the role the variants played. I think the variant issue right now continues to be the 210-mile-an-hour curveball that we don’t really yet understand completely.”

The number of deaths per week skyrocketed in December after the delta variant took hold, driving new cases. 

Despite the arrival of vaccines in 2021, the Covid-19 death toll still continued to climb. It has also included people much younger in age than those who died in 2020, making the risk greater for people of all ages.

Osterholm said, “Pandemics are going to happen. They’re like tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. What we’re going to need to do is be able to respond to them, so that we minimize the damage. And that’s the key message right now, I think, is what do we do to do that?”

With the holidays coming up, it is feared that these numbers might only grow as people are desperate to celebrate a normal holiday with loved ones.

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