Alabama braces for post-Labor Day COVID-19 case rise
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Concerns are growing that the increased travel brought about by Labor Day celebrations could lead to a new COVID-19 surge on top of the current one. Infectious disease doctors say they expect to see a rise in coronavirus cases as a result.
Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris said the rise in travel rates raises the risk. He warns that the delta variant remains unpredictable and as the nation continues to learn to live with COVID-19, the festivities will continue to come at a cost.
“We’re a couple of months into this delta variant outbreak...and we keep hoping that maybe it’s going to begin to decline a little,” said Harris. “And it’s possible that we may be seeing a little bit of plateauing there, but overall I’ve just learned I’m not really good at predicting what we’re going to see.”
During the Memorial Day and Independence Day holidays of 2020 there was a large jump in the number of COVID-19 cases followed by a decline. But that decline was short lived as cases began to peak again during the Christmas holidays and into the new year.
During the most recent Fourth of July celebrations, Alabama saw more cases of COVID-19 along with the introduction of the highly contagious delta variant. And there’s another holiday, of sorts, that is happening in 2021 that didn’t take place in 2020: packed stadiums for college football season.
Harris said those who decided to head into football stadiums or watch parties should be careful even if they’ve been vaccinated.
“I sound like a broken record, but our advice is the same,” Harris said. “If you’re a vulnerable person, if you’re a senior, if you’re somebody with chronic health problems, even if you’re vaccinated, you need to be really careful about getting together with large groups of people.”
The Alabama Department of Public Health is set to launch its Kick COVID campaign starting on Sept. 16 with incentives outside select football games for those who opt to get vaccinated.
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