MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A leading epidemiologist from the University of Minnesota says he believes the United States is in a fourth wave of a COVID-19 surge.

Dr. Michael Osterholm appeared on FOX News Sunday, where he said the spike in cases right now is due to the coronavirus variant first found in the U.K. — B.1.1.7. — which is now spreading here. It’s much more contagious and can be more serious.

READ MORE: Osterholm: Relaxing COVID Restrictions As Cases Climb Is Like ‘Dismissing Gravity’

Dr. Michael Osterholm (credit: CBS)

Dr. Osterholm says he believes, in some ways, we’re almost in a new pandemic.

“We are the only country in the world right now experiencing this increasing number of cases due to this variant, and at the same time opening up, not closing down. And the two basically are going to collide,” Osterholm said.

He says the good news is the vaccines in the U.S. protect against the variant B117.

READ MORE: Doctor Rates Risk For Travel, Sporting Events Amid ‘Spring Surge’

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