U of M’s Osterholm walks back call for another lockdown

In his Wednesday interview, Osterholm reiterated his belief that the country is entering a period of “COVID hell.” 

Fox News screenshot

The University of Minnesota’s Dr. Michael Osterholm, who was appointed to President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 task force, said a comment he made earlier in the week doesn’t necessarily represent the views of the Biden transition team.

Osterholm, director of the university’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, was named to Biden’s 13-member coronavirus task force on Monday.

“We could pay for a package right now to cover all of the lost wages for individual workers, for losses to small companies, to medium-sized companies or city, state, county governments. We could do all of that,” Osterholm told Yahoo Finance Live in a Wednesday interview.

“If we did that, then we could lock down for four to six weeks and if we did that, we could drive the numbers down,” he added, referring viewers to his August New York Times op-ed, which explicitly called for “another lockdown.”

The comments drew criticism from the right, since Biden said throughout the campaign that he would emphasize a national mask mandate and increased testing in his coronavirus response, as opposed to additional lockdowns.

Osterholm told ABC News Thursday that he’s “never discussed any of this” with the Biden team.

“Nobody’s going to support it. It’s not going to be supported out of the administration. It’s not going to be supported in Congress,” he said.

In his Wednesday interview, Osterholm reiterated his belief that the country is entering a period of “COVID hell.”

“Everyone on this screen will know a COVID-related event either in yourself or in your family or your colleagues in the days ahead,” he said. “If you haven’t had it happen already, it’s going to happen. There won’t be any blue or red states. There won’t be blue or red counties. It will be COVID color.”