MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — As the number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama quickly rise, the head of the Alabama Hospital Association he’s more worried now about the pandemic than before the arrival of vaccines earlier this year.
Dr. Don Williamson says hospitalization rates are skyrocketing and could once again push hospital staffs to their limits.
“We’ve gone in two weeks from having 200 or 300 patients per day to our seven-day average for cases is now over 1,500 almost 1,600,” Williamson said.
Nearly 9 in 10 of all new COVID-19 cases in Alabama are among the unvaccinated. Williamson says while the vaccines work, the new delta variant is so much more contagious that breakthrough cases are more likely to happen.
He pointed out that the number of virus a person exhales in the air is around 1,500 times higher than in previous coronavirus strains.
“We now know with the Delta variant we’re talking about less than 5 minutes and many people think it’s 30 seconds to a minute of exposure,” Williamson said.
“But with vaccination rates not budging, Williamson says hospitalization rates will keep climbing.
“We’re okay now. It’s not going to be stuff like PPE or ventilators. It’s not going to be beds. It’s going to be staff,” Williams said.
“This has the potential in my judgement at least, being a much larger outbreak than we’ve seen before.”
Dr. Williamson also says for the current rate of infections to lead to natural herd immunity on top of vaccinations would take at least several months to accomplish.