Reader Opinion: A Minnesota treasure


Again and again, Minnesota has benefited from having a beacon of knowledge, anchored in commitment and centered in science to guide us from the rocks in a storm.

Meet the Press, NBC’s long-running television program focused on public policy, politics and now pandemic featured the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Michael Osterholm.

A familiar face on matters of epidemiological merit, he is sought by those in earnest pursuit of, what Chuck Todd called, “straight talk” about these life and death issues.

His name is not new to us, as we were reading and hearing of him nearly four decades back as Minnesota’s Epidemiologist when AIDS was unknown and politicians were unwilling or hesitant to act.

An earnest bulwark in the face of adversity from the many known and emerging body-borne threats that seem able to overwhelm us, Osterholm is no one-trick pony; rather a broad and ranging element of enlightenment in what can seem to be a darkening and foreboding landscape.


To those who have learned of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), in a phone conversation Dr. Osterholm introduced me to its link with Mad Cow Disease, the super-surviving

and deadly threat, the prion.

Most recently the penetrator has been Covid-19. Earlier this month, serious author and CNN commentator, Fahreed Zakaria enlisted Dr. Osterholm to provide a bottom-line assessment of Covid considerations and consequences with expectations toward future outcomes.

We pooh-pooh these predictions at our own peril. For the head-in-the-sand crowd there has been ample evidence of a need to merge to the safer lane. We will likely continue

to see many who will insist they can drive as they please without seatbelts and mufflers. Put distance between them and yourself.

Philip Vaughan

Lake Edward Township

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