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Michael Osterholm speaking at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul in April 2020. Photo: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The U.S. is playing a "whole new ballgame" in terms of controlling the coronavirus now that variants are spreading across the country, Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CBS News on Friday.

Why it matters: Osterholm said the U.S. could face another surge from the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first identified in the United Kingdom and has since been detected throughout the U.S. Multiple studies have suggested that it likely spreads more easily than the original strain of the virus.

What they're saying: "We are, I think for the moment, in the eye of a hurricane with regard to the good news, the vaccine's coming, but the big challenge [is] with this new variant that has arrived here from Europe," Osterholm told CBS News.

  • "But beyond that, it's all going to be about the variants and the vaccine, and that will determine where we're going to be next year, the year after, and the year after that."
  • Osterholm predicted that between now and the time the U.S. can vaccinate more of its population "we're going to see this B.1.1.7 surge occur."

The big picture: His warning comes as multiple states across the country relax or roll back their coronavirus restrictions.

Go deeper: Europe's new coronavirus spike is a warning to the U.S.

Go deeper

Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy.
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker
Sep 17, 2021 - Health

CDC: Moderna vaccine most effective against hospitalization in U.S.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Overall healthy adults with the Moderna COVID vaccine had 93% vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization over five months compared to those with 88% protection with Pfizer and 71% from the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a new report out Friday from the CDC shows.

Why it matters: The report comes as the Food and Drug Administrations meets Friday to consider whether to endorse a contentious plan for booster shots among the fully vaccinated.

Sep 18, 2021 - Health

Mississippi reports rise in COVID-19 deaths among pregnant women

Dr. Thomas Dobbs speaks during a House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing in Washington, D.C., on March 10, 2020. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

At least eight pregnant women in Mississippi, who weren't fully vaccinated, have died of COVID-19 since late July, CNN reports.

Why it matters: The eight pregnant women who have died from the virus more than doubles the state's pandemic total in just two months.