BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Doctors with UAB Medicine held a live discussion Wednesday regarding the Delta variant of COVID-19.
Dr. Michael Saag and Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo provided further details of the variant as it relates to Alabama and the country. The discussion was hosted by the Alabama House Democratic Caucus.
Dr. Marrazzo began the discussion by detailing the latest numbers from across the state saying things have been progressively returning back to the numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths the state saw in the winter and summer.
“It’s been a real whirlwind, I would say, in the last year and a half,” Dr. Marrazzo said. “We really started off having a pretty difficult summer last year and again in December. It looked like we were getting a handle on things in the state as vaccines came out. But we are now in a really, really scary place.”
Dr. Saag called the current battle against the virus “a war” and said the country being split over whether or not to get the vaccine is hurting the chances of getting over the pandemic.
“I think I speak for every healthcare worker who’s in the trenches in saying that we are exhausted, we are frustrated, we are angry at the lack of the ability of our state and our country to come together over this issue,” Dr. Saag said. “I’ve always thought in the back of my mind that we definitely would have lost World War II with the attitudes I’ve seen in the country right now.”
The US saw roughly 140,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday with about 4,000 of the cases coming from Alabamians. Dr. Marrazzo said more than 95% of all cases they’ve monitored at UAB have been caused by the Delta variant.
The predominant strain in the state and across the globe has created another challenge for healthcare workers as hospitalizations have continued to rise. Dr. Marrazzao said roughly 2,800 Alabamians are hospitalized due to COVID-19 with around 800 of them in the ICU.
Delta has also had an impact on children becoming severely ill with the virus as 40 children are currently hospitalized. Dr. Marrazzo said she has seen projection models where the state could see upwards of 5,000 hospitalizations in the next month which would limit hospitals’ normal operations and procedures.
“I know it’s a picture of gloom and doom but I’m feeling less optimistic than I have been because I’m concerned about these numbers. I’m concerned about this latest data on perhaps the vaccine efficacy being undermined by Delta. And I’m concerned because we have such a large proportion of people who haven’t had even a single dose in the state. We’re still only 35% fully vaccinated,” she said.
You can watch the full discussion in the video player above.