Episode 78: Breakthroughs and Boosters Chris Dall: [00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Before we get started with this week's episode of the Osterholm update, I want to let you know that CIDRAP is commemorating its 20th anniversary this year. Since its inception in 2001, our team has created what is now a globally renowned center tackling the world's toughest challenges in infectious disease and public policy, including COVID-19, Ebola virus, Zika, antibiotic resistance, universal flu vaccines, and drug supply shortages. In celebration of this milestone anniversary and to ensure we're able to continue our important work into the future, Christy Walton has pledged a $4 million challenge to complete a $10 million fundraising campaign. A $1 match will be made for every $2 donated, helping to build a solid endowment to support CIDRAP's work. Please visit CIDRAP.edu/donate and thank you. And now to this week's episode of the Osterholm update. Hello and welcome to the Osterholm update COVID-19, a podcast on the COVID-19 pandemic with Dr. Michael Osterholm. Dr. Osterholm is an internationally recognized medical detective and director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, or CIDRAP, at the University of Minnesota. In this podcast, Dr. Osterholm will draw on more than 45 years of experience investigating infectious disease outbreaks to provide straight talk on the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm Chris Dall, reporter for CIDRAP News, and I'm your host for these conversations. Welcome back, everyone, to another episode of the Osterholm Update podcast. Back in June and early July, when the U.S. was in the midst of a dramatic decline in COVID-19 cases and the delta wave had not yet begun, the return to a pandemic free holiday season seemed like a hopeful, but not unrealistic scenario. Families would once again be able to gather for holiday celebrations without fear of infection. That was the hope that the vaccines provided. Fast forward five months, and with the holidays now upon us, the picture is a bit murkier. The vaccines will allow many of us to have the type of Thanksgiving that we had in pre-COVID times. But with COVID-19 cases once again surging in many parts of the country and a significant proportion of Americans still unvaccinated, it is clear that we are not yet free of this pandemic. This week on the Osterholm update, we're going to take a deeper look at the dynamic situation here in the United States after we provide an update on the worsening situation in Europe. We'll also examine the growing calls to expand access to COVID-19 booster shots, discuss how people should be assessing the risks of Thanksgiving get togethers, answer a COVID query about how past pandemics have ended, and tell you about the latest Beautiful Place submission from one of our listeners. But first, we'll begin with Dr. Osterholm's opening comments and dedication. Michael Osterholm: [00:02:50] Thanks, Chris, and welcome to all of you. Back to another episode of the podcast, each and every week I start out these podcasts with hopefully something smart or wise to say, and each week I find myself just continuing to apologize for how little I knew about what was happening. And that will be front and evident again this week in terms of just trying to understand what we might expect here in the United States over the course of the next several weeks to months. And of course, what's happening globally. But at the heart of all of it is the fact that we are learning. We're learning a lot. We continue to learn a lot. We continue to understand the power of the vaccines. Again, I will repeat this often. These are remarkable tools. They're not perfect, but they are remarkable. And how do we best use them? And as I leave you today, I will leave you with some positive notes about where we might be going and what we can do. And as we come into this holiday season, we do have a lot of control over our own safety with regard to COVID. And again, we'll emphasize that today. Today, I want to dedicate this podcast to a remarkable group of people who I so appreciate. I happen to have some of them in my own family. I'm dedicating this podcast to the parents, the guardians, the grandparents, whoever have been involved in helping the five to 11 year olds get vaccinated over the course of the past two weeks in this country. I've seen some amazing efforts, major clinics where literally more than a thousand children were moved through efficiently to get vaccinated, par

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