Alabama State Health Officer: COVID-19 pandemic now, ‘Very close to our worst days’

Coronavirus

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WRBL) – An Alabama State Health Official is sounding the alarms as COVID-19 cases rise again in the state and this time at a rapid rate.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says things will get worse before they get better and the next couple of weeks will be tough for the entire state.

“Here in Alabama, we’re inching very close to our worst days,” said Harris.

Dr. Harris says the worst times of the pandemic in the state was towards the end of 2020 into 2021.

Back then, the state was seeing on average 5,000 cases, 3,000 hospitalizations, and high double-digit deaths per day. 

Now, things are trending back in that same direction, after recording over 3,000 cases in one day and hospitalizations north of 2,000.

“But what’s scary is just how quickly they’ve gone up. On the Fourth of July weekend, we had about 180 people in Alabama hospitals, so that’s a 1,000 percent increase in just a little bit over a month, in about five weeks,” said Harris.

Health officials say the Delta Variant is what led to this rapid rise in cases and hospitalizations.

“What we’re seeing with the Delta Variant is that people are typically infecting 3-4 other people, sometimes 5 other people on-average. So it’s much more contagious, more than twice as infectious as we’ve seen before,” said Harris.

Dr. Harris compares the COVID-19 Delta Variant to chickenpox in how quickly the virus spreads.

“If you call your pediatrician and say my kid has chickenpox, they say don’t bring them to the office, we want you to stay home, because it’s a really infectious disease. This is pretty similar; it spreads at the same rate,” said Harris.

Health officials say the best way to protect yourself is to get the vaccine.

“I think what’s frustrating to us, many or most of these hospitalizations and deaths are completely preventable. We have a vaccine that’s safe and effective,” said Harris.

Health officials have seen an increase in COVID-19 vaccinations in the state, but still fall short compared to vaccination efforts earlier this year.

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