UAB doctors urge Alabamians to stay vigilant against COVID-19

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 10:05 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - UAB doctors have a message they need Alabamians to hear: Stay vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.

With the Labor Day holiday and long weekend behind us, there’s some anxiety in the medical field about the number of coronavirus cases that will appear in the coming weeks.

“If you look at the modeling that people are doing based on what we have seen from previous three day weekends, so let’s say what happens after Memorial Day or what happens even more concerningly after the July 4 weekend, happens after Labor Day, then we are in for a not good scenario in September and early October,” explained Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, UAB’s Director of the Infectious Disease Division.

“It basically means that our hospitalization rates and probably our death rates are going to climb way back up to the levels that we saw in July,” Marrazzo said. “It’s really important that we do not revisit that situation.”

Dr. Marrazzo understands that we’re living through what some people might call the most boring phase of this pandemic right now, and knows we keep hearing the same things over and over - social distance, wear a mask, wash your hands. She insists it’s still too soon to let down our guard.

“We don’t really have any new tools yet to control this pandemic. We’re still using the same blunt tools of social distancing, wearing a mask and washing your hands or the hygiene part to actually do what we know works to prevent transmission,” Marrazzo said. “And we do know that those three things, particularly mask wearing, based on now some really nice assessments that have been accumulating since the last time we talked here, that masks really do work, as does social distancing.”

She also addressed concerns over big spikes in cases on college campuses.

“If you have an outbreak on a university campus, and you have the capacity to maintain some semblance of comfort and order safety and security and education virtually for the students on that campus, it actually makes sense probably to keep those students on campus,” the doctor added. “And part of the reason for that is, not only that it gives you more control, more ability to chart what’s happening to those students, not just from their own personal health perspective, but from the propagation of the epidemic or the outbreak in that context. It also really, really critically keeps them from returning to vulnerable communities and reintroducing the chain of transmission into those other places.”

The doctor is also concerned about what this new season, after Labor Day, could bring. This is typically a time when people go back to school, people are spending more time at work, and generally tend to head indoors more this time of year. Those are all big concerns as flu season approaches.

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