New strain of COVID causes concern for hospitals
Many health experts think that the current COVID-19 surge will get worse before it gets better. But they also note that new cause won’t lead to many hospitalizations and deaths, because vaccinations are now protecting many Americans.
Although COVID-19 vaccines still largely protect people from severe illness or death, new evidence shows that the Delta variant is causing some breakthrough infections in vaccinated people. And vaccinated people with infections seem to carry roughly the same level of virus in their noses and throats as unvaccinated people — meaning they can spread it more easily.
Thus, the game has changed a little bit for vaccinated people, meaning that masks are advised in public places such as grocery stores, restaurants, the Wal-Mart, and even worship services. Also, of utmost concern is that with school beginning, football games, etc., there will be a new surge of cases in late August and early September.
Although several school systems have not mandated masks, they are recommending them. Ballad Health officials said this week that the Delta variant has affected children differently than any previous strain of COVID-19.
Jamie Swift, Ballad Chief Infection Prevention Officer, Monday shared that children’s hospitals in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Florida are already filling up with very sick children “and I don’t think that we can assume that’s not going to happen here.”
Swift said “Delta is going to impact children. Delta is going to put children in the hospital and potentially some of those children could end up with very critical illnesses.”
Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercy echoed those same sentiments later in the day when in a media briefing she expressed concern the state is backsliding when it comes to COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Piercy says statewide, over 1,000 Tennesseans were hospitalized Monday; the vast majority not vaccinated, making up 93 percent of cases.
Piercy noted that vaccine is available for children down to age 12. “Vaccine is very effective in preventing that. Likewise, masks do protect unvaccinated children,” said Piercy.
In Carter County, there are new cases of COVID everyday, however, the vaccination rate is still around 29 percent, which means that everywhere you go where there is a large gathering of people, you can bet there are people who have not been vaccinated, and some could be carriers of COVID.
Tennessee’s seven-day average for new cases is 1,871. The state positivity rate is over 13 percent.
Why do people not get vaccinations? One, they don’t like being told what to do. Also, polling suggests that people who are unvaccinated “do not trust federal authorities, federal public health scientists, Washington for medical advice” and are not particularly worried about getting COVID-19. If that is the problem, then talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
Let’s be real about COVID. It is no respecter of persons. It is a killer. It can strike anytime or any place. Most likely, your doctor will tell you that he or she will take their chances with the vaccines over not getting it.
If you don’t care about yourself, think of others — your family members, those you work with. Protect them by getting a vaccination. Almost every pharmacy has the vaccines and administers the shots free of charge. Also, you can schedule an appointment at the Carter County Health Dept. for a vaccine.
Just do it. Get a vaccine!