Expert: Hand Washing, Masks Won’t Keep You From Getting Covid-19

By AFP Staff

On March 10, comedian Joe Rogan released his two-hour interview with epidemiologist Michael Osterholm, and it is not good news for countries facing down the novel coronavirus known as covid-19.

Osterholm has quite the background. According to Rogan, he is is an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases. “He is Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, College of Science and Engineering, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota.”

He also is the author of the book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Deadly Germs, that all but predicted the rise of covid-19.

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In the interview, Osterholm dispels a lot of myths surrounding the virus and makes some shocking claims that counter what public health authorities have been telling the country.

According to the health expert, it doesn’t look like washing your hands will make much difference since the virus looks like to transmitted on the air. In other words, simply sharing the same air in a confined space will likely lead to infection.

Worse still, Osterholm says it is a myth that only people who are over 65 and have health conditions should be worried about catching it. Really anyone over the age of about 19 needs to be concerned, as the virus reproduces quickly and can turn into pneumonia in a matter of days even for otherwise healthy people. For some strange reason, a tiny fraction of children become sick, which is not good as they then tend to spread the virus around to adults.

If you are generally healthy, he contends, you stand a better fighting chance, but conditions like obesity and high blood pressure, which most Americans suffer from, can spell trouble if you do get sick.

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And while the flu season is on the decline in the U.S., he doubts that warming weather in the U.S. will much affect the virus. MERS, a similar virus that is spread by camels in the Middle East, can be spread even when it’s 110 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

And what of China and South Korea that seem to be getting the number of new infections under control. Osterholm acknowledges that these countries have taken extreme measures such as quarantining large portions of their populations. The question is, how long can this be sustained? How long can people be kept out of work and stuck in their homes, especially in large cities? Once the quarantines are dropped, Osterholm argues that the countries will start to see a rise in the number of sick people again.

The world is only in the beginning stages of this new disease, he says. It might be at least six months before the world sees peak sickness.

You can watch the entire interview here: