The New Atlantis: How serious is this situation? Are we locking things down too early or too late?

Michael Osterholm: This is a very serious situation. We will overwhelm the American health care system. It won’t be equally distributed around the country — some places will get hit much harder than others. We will run out of critical personal protective equipment for health care workers, which will ultimately result in infections that they will acquire on the job.

We will continue to see, I’m afraid, certain political responses which will lead people to challenge public health recommendations on ideological as opposed to scientific grounds.

And we don’t have a sense of how this is going to play out relative to time. I tell people we’re responding to this just like we’re responding to a Minneapolis blizzard, where we’re going to lock down for a couple of days and everything will go back to normal — as opposed to the fact that this is going to be a coronavirus winter and we’re just in the first week or two of a long season. This could last for months.