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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

Jun 11, 2021 - Health

G7 commits to sending 1 billion COVID vaccine doses to lower-income countries

Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

The Group of 7 wealthy nations on Friday pledged to deliver more than 1 billion doses of the coronavirus vaccine to lower-income countries beginning this summer.

Why it matters: The G7 countries have been criticized for not sharing vaccines with nations that have fewer resources and are struggling to contain new waves of the pandemic.

Jun 11, 2021 - Health

FDA clears 10 million J&J vaccine doses from contaminated Baltimore plant

Emergent BioSolutions ruined 15 million of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses back in March. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration said Friday that it's allowing for the release of two batches of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine made at the Emergent BioSolutions facility in Baltimore, where 100 million doses had been set aside for review after an accidental contamination.

Why it matters: The two authorized batches amount to approximately 10 million doses of J&J's single-shot vaccine, according to AP. The doses could end up being used in the U.S. or exported to other countries.