Mayo Clinic doctor says as many as 25K Americans could die from COVID by New Years –

“The single best thing you can do would be to get a booster,” said Mayo’s top epidemiologist Dr. Gregory Poland.

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Dr. Gregory Poland is a vaccine expert with 40 years of experience who works at the renowned Mayo Clinic.

He says the virus continues to mutate and can no longer be eradicated, but also that booster shots are especially effective against the newest variant.

Early data shows omicron may spread more easily, but the disease is less severe. 

Pfizer CEO, Dr. Albert Bourla, says, “Three doses against omicron are almost equivalent to the two doses effectiveness that we had against the original variant.”

It could be a matter of weeks before scientists have a firmer understanding of omicron, like if it’s similar to influenza that still kills a lot of people every year.

Dr. Poland suggesting wearing a mask when you’re sick will help.

“I suspect we will learn to do that, it will just take a lot of deaths for us to get the message,” said Dr. Poland, who says about 35% of Americans are still unvaccinated.

If you include the risk differences, he says there’s now a greater absolute number of deaths than during the 1918 flu pandemic. 

“It’s the equivalent of roughly 39 to 40 airplanes carrying 400 people a piece, crashing out of skies and everybody dying every week for 52 weeks straight,” said Dr. Poland. “We would, in no way, tolerate that.”

The doctor says most evidence about omicron is in its early stages and they’re studying, in particular, how it spreads in high income and urban centers, as well as how stable its mutations are. At 50, omicron has the most mutations of any variant.

Scientists are also looking into whether omicron increases hospitalization and death rates, all of which takes time, but still are what Dr. Poland calls “red hot concerns”.