"All of us know someone who has died from COVID in Minnesota. It's our grandpas and our grandmas, our moms and our dads, our brothers and our sisters and ... even our kids."

"The only thing that makes this [COVID-19] seasonal is that it happens in all four seasons. So I would get [the vaccine] now. The activity level is increasing rapidly. We're seeing a number of schools where we're seeing substantial transmission in kids, which of course then brings the virus home to Mom or Dad or Grandpa and Grandma."

“Before, we were basically trying to completely avoid the virus. Now we know it’s here. And now we know that we’re not going to shut down everything or even think about that. … So the point is: How do we live with it? And I think that’s the transition we’re in right now.”

“We’re in almost the best place we’ve been in the pandemic since it began. But we are caught in the very uncomfortable area of having left the fog of the pandemic war and trying to understand what the sunrise on a normal post-COVID world looks like.”

“There just isn’t a definable pattern yet that would call this [COVID-19] a seasonal virus. That’s not to suggest it might not be some day.”

"We've lost a lot of the trust and the support of the public over the last several years because they [the public] felt like we were not being truthful when we should have said we don't know. And so I think we have a lot of work yet to do for the next pandemic. And if I had to give you my best professional judgment, I would say we're less prepared for a pandemic today than we were in 2019."

“If we learned nothing else from the [COVID-19] pandemic, public health credibility is everything in how people will take your recommendations.”

"Do I think there will be another big [COVID-19] surge? I don't. I still sleep with one eye open with this virus, because we have to look at these mutations that are occurring and these variants. But I just don't see a variant yet that is going to get us back to anything the size of the previous big peaks."

"It's clear that we're on the back side of the big [COVID-19] pandemic surges, those major increases in cases. We're not going back to that place, I don't think, but this is where we have to be just very honest and say, the virus is in control here. We're not driving this thing. The virus is."

"Right now I don't see anything in the United States that supports that we're going to see a big surge of [COVID-19] cases over the summer."

"Over the next several months, we're about to see the public health system in this country systematically dismantled. I've never seen anything like this in my 48 years in the business — the amount of clawback that has happened with resources and funds. We're going to see major layoffs in public health agencies all across the country at federal, state and local levels. We're going to see research scaled back substantially on infectious diseases."

"I really am convinced we're on the backside of the pandemic. It's not done yet; however, I don't believe we're ever going to see another big surge, like we saw with the Delta, the Omicrons, and so forth. Keep in mind this is probably going to be like a flulike picture."

"There won't be a time I stop thinking about COVID. I have five grandkids, and as long as I think about them, I'm never going to retire, because I want to do what I can to make it a better world for them, and I think about that every day."

"I think that we in public health did see a major erosion of trust [during the COVID pandemic]. Part of it was, I think, we seriously lacked humility. We should have, as a public health profession, made it clear from the very beginning of the pandemic there are a lot of questions we can’t answer."

"It's [Omicron XBB.1.5's] still circulating out there. It's just acting more as a virus that is willing to live with us rather than try to kill us."

"Our center raised this issue four years ago the first time at the [Minnesota] legislature to say with what we're seeing happen here [chronic wasting disease], this could clearly lead to transmission to humans from consuming infected deer. And since that time four years ago, we've only seen this prion become more and more like one that we fully expect could transmit to humans."

[Turning new COVID-19 antibodies into approved drugs is] "going to take long-term investment. That is something we are missing.”

"We've got to be ready to pivot if we have to. I'm not going to say we're going to see another surge of Omicron-like illness, but we shouldn't be surprised."

“We have really lost so much health-care capacity in this country by loss of beds, loss of health-care workers [during the pandemic]. We better hope we’re not going to see a big surge in infectious disease cases of any kind in the months to years ahead."

"I think we're at a place right now where I can hope it will only get better. On the other hand, I have a lot of respect for this virus, and frankly, we all ought to have a lot of humility."