A new “hurricane” of COVID-19 cases could be on the way because of the new strains of the virus, epidemiologist Michael Osterholm said over the weekend.

What happened?

Osterholm told NBC’s “Meet the Press” show on Sunday morning that the United States should brace for the spread of a new strain of COVID-19.

  • “The surge that is likely to occur with this new variant from England is going to happen in the next six to 14 weeks,” he said.
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Osterholm — who worked on President Joe Biden’s transition coronavirus advisory board — said Biden’s team should work faster to vaccinate as many people as possible sooner rather than later, per Fox News.

  • “The hurricane is coming. Because of this surge, we have to call an audible,” he said.
  • “If we get a number of first doses in people, particularly 65-years-of-age and older, we can really do a lot to reduce the number of serious illnesses and deaths in this next big surge, which is coming.”
  • “You and I are sitting on this beach where it’s 70 degrees, perfectly blue skies, gentle breeze,” Osterholm said. “But I see that hurricane five, category five or higher, 450 miles offshore. And, you know, telling people to evacuate on that nice blue sky day is going to be hard.”

Spring surge due to new strains

Researchers from the University of Washington warned over the weekend that the new COVID-19 strains — like those from South Africa, the United Kingdom and Brazil — could create a deadly spike in the U.S. this spring, according to The Boston Herald.

  • “We are very concerned,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad.
  • Mokdad said the new strains are “very alarming.”