Dr. Michael Osterholm, CIDRAP, Univ. Minnesota: Fighting Omicron “like trying to stop the wind.”

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In this newest episode in our series on China, Mike Osterholm reflects. There is no easy explanation for why  the Chinese government did so little to prepare while knowing Zero-Covid was failing.  Even as Omicron reached an R-naught of up to 16, and 8 million elderly above 80 had received no vaccine. We are now seeing progress by the Chinese in data sharing through George Gao’s recently published Lancet paper. Luckily, there Is no evidence of a dangerous new subvariant emerging, though we have to be cautious and humble. China has experienced a massive increase in deaths. After the Omicron surge that swept the United States in 2022, Omicron settled into a “high plains” continued outbreak of 380-550 deaths per day. That pattern may be seen in China. On the Covid origin controversy, we will likely never know the source.  Prospects for an informed U.S.-Chinese dialogue on preparing for the next pandemic?  “We are back in the 1970s.”