The World Health Organization has officially announced that the coronavirus – COVID-19 – is a pandemic as it has made its way into at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people. With all of the misinformation about the virus making its way through the mainstream media and social media, Joe Rogan invited infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm to join him on his popular podcast to explain exactly what is going on and what people can truly expect from the coronavirus this year.
Osterholm described himself as a “medical detective” who has spent his entire career tracking down infectious diseases and trying to figure out how to stop them. He said that his expertise is responding to “situations just like this.”
Rogan immediately asked Osterholm at the beginning of the interview about just how serious the coronavirus is, and wondered if it’s something people should truly be terrified of or if it’s overblown.
Osterholm explained that everyone has to understand the timing of the virus and that it’s just in the beginning stages. All of the numbers we have heard so far about how many people have contracted the virus and how many many people have died from it will continue to rise over the next few months.
He says that the coronavirus is acting just like the influenza virus, which transmits easily through the air, and there is data that shows people can be infectious before they show symptoms, which is about a four-day incubation period.
“Probably the best guess we have right now on what limited data we have says that this is gonna be at least 10 to 15 times worse than the worst seasonal flu year we see,” said Osterholm.
Osterholm says that conservative estimates from experts predict that worldwide there will be approximately 48 million hospitalizations due to coronavirus, 96 million cases in total, and over 480,000 deaths during the next three to seven months.
“This is not one to take lightly,” says Osterholm, despite the relatively low numbers at this time.
Osterholm explained that the limited data shows that coronavirus seems to have the most devastating effects on patients who are smokers, who are over the age of 40, and those who are obese. However, as the data continues to roll in, they will have a better idea of how the disease affects different parts of the population. Osterholm did confirm that the highest number of fatalities due to the coronavirus is in the 50+ age group.
Michael Osterholm – author of the book Deadliest Enemy – told Joe Rogan that children under 19 don’t appear to have symptoms even if they do contract the virus and there have been zero fatalities in that age group.
For complete, detailed, unbiased information about the coronavirus, you can watch Joe Rogan’s full 90-minute interview with Michael Osterholm in the video above. Ultimately, Osterholm says that the best thing people can do over the next few months is to limit their contact with others and avoid crowded public spaces.