‘We have choices. We can take control of this ourselves.’: Dr. Michael Saag on the COVID-19 increase in AL

Published: Jul. 4, 2020 at 8:57 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Dr. Michael Saag, M.D., Professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said he has a message for the public going into the July 4th weekend.

Dr. Saag said he wanted to address the media and the public because he cares deeply about what happens to all of us, especially when it comes to COVID-19. Dr. Saag said If the state cases continue to get out of control the picture will be very ugly.

Friday, Alabama hit a 7-day average of 1,000 cases a day, with 1,758 cases added Friday morning.

Dr. Saag said he thinks we can contribute the cases to community spread. He said it’s true most of the cases are young people catching the virus.

He also wanted to remind people the young can get sick too, even though there have been asymptomatic cases in the young. Saag said there are 20 year olds in the hospital with COVID-19.

Dr. Saag said the “tinder” for the COVID-19 fire or spread is anyone who has not had COVID-19 before. Saag said, “The virus is loving this.”

Dr. Saag said he is worried about our health systems locally and across Alabama if these cases get out of control. As of 10 a.m. Friday, July 3, UAB Hospital is caring for 79 inpatients who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Saag said if hospitals are overwhelmed and cases run like wild fire, the only thing left to do is go to another shutdown.

Dr. Saag said people need to take responsibility to help stop the spread of the virus. He said we have the power to stop it.

“We don’t need the government to tell us what to do, we know what to do,” said Saag.

Dr. Saag said data shows that in the countries that have brought the virus under control, the number one cause of the outbreaks was bars. Saag said that might be the first thing state leaders need to mitigate.

Dr. Saag said right now people aren’t paying too much attention to the message of social distancing, staying home when you can or wearing masks. He did say he is seeing many more masks than he has before since the face covering ordinance was passed in Jefferson County.

Dr. Saag’s biggest message: Stay at home when you can, wear masks, and stay away from crowded places.

Copyright 2020 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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