Infectious diseases expert Michael Osterholm is warning that it’s much too soon to remove mask mandates and reopen businesses, like Texas and Mississippi are doing right now. And he offered some advice about what he would tell those states about dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. 

“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” Osterholm told MSNBC’s Chuck Todd on Thursday. “Go back.” 

Osterholm, who is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, said he understood the desire to return to normal, but as new variants spread, this could turn out to be an opportune time for the virus. 

“The problem is right now we’re opening up in a way that’s just an invitation for this virus to spread,” Osterholm said, noting the spring break events in the coming weeks. 

“All these students are gonna be where all this virus is and then they’re gonna be coming home,” he added. “We have air flights now at an all-time high. We have people going back to bars and restaurants.” 

Osterholm pointed out that when the variants surged in Europe late last year, those countries were already in a lockdown “and they still had a hard time.”

See his full comments above.  

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