A very quarantine Christmas could be ahead if the country followed the advice of a top coronavirus advisor for President-elect Joe Biden.

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the director for the Center of Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, suggested a lockdown of four to six weeks to combat surging coronavirus cases. He said the country is headed for “COVID hell” because pandemic fatigue is prompting Americans to implement face masks and social distancing less and colder weather is setting up an easier virus spread amid indoor crowding.

Osterholm, part of Biden’s 12-member COVID-19 advisory board, said the country is able to create packages that would page for lost wages and losses to small companies and city and county governments because of personal savings increases (8% to 22%) and historically low federal interest rates.

“If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks,” Osterholm told Yahoo. “And if we did that, we could drive the numbers down, like they’ve done in Asia, like they did in New Zealand and Australia. And then, we could really watch ourselves, cruising into the vaccine availability in the first and second quarter of next year, and bring back the economy long before that.”

He also referenced a co-written piece he wrote with Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari for The New York Times. “The problem with the March-to-May lockdown was that it was not uniformly stringent across the country. For example, Minnesota deemed 78% of its workers essential,” it said. “To be effective, the lockdown has to be as comprehensive and strict as possible.”

 

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