Arts Alert: Dr. Osterholm on COVID-19: “We’re not driving this tiger, we’re riding it.”

Dr Osterholm on COVID-19:
“We’re not driving this tiger,
we’re riding it.”

Dr. Michael Osterholm, the U of M’s internationally renowned epidemiologist, met with arts people via Zoom this week to answer questions about how the social distancing required to slow the spread of the virus is impacting the arts community.

“We miss you. We miss you. The arts are critical to what makes us who we are,” he began, admitting that “I made a guest appearance in all three acts of Wicked on Broadway a few years ago.”

With arts activities halted across the state since mid-March, and many artists and arts organizations anxious to reopen, the interview was eye opening and sobering. Of note was his focus on how the virus spreads through the air – a question for arts organizations whose activities generally are indoors in buildings with HVAC systems.

“We’re not driving this tiger, we’re riding it” was his most memorable phrase, meaning that we don’t actually know how it will behave, when the next waves of infection will come, or how bad it will be. He did say he thought we would be dealing with the virus “for years” and that “you have to plan to hunker down for a while.”

You can watch the webinar on MCA’s Coronavirus response page.