BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It may seem longer, but it’s been six months since the first patient was diagnosed with the coronavirus in Alabama. So, how far have we come?
WBRC FOX6 News reached out to the officers of the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Jefferson County Health Department.
Both men will tell you they are tired, but they agree they have learned a lot about this disease they didn’t know when the first patient was diagnosed six months ago. There is more knowledge about treatment and efforts to prevent the spread, but they say there remains a lot to be concerned about the future.
When the coronavirus first came to Alabama, the Alabama Public Health Officer admitted doctors didn’t know a lot about the disease. “In a scientific sense we learned about the virus we didn’t know. We learned how contagious it is than say influenza. We learned how deadly it is for certain groups of people,” Dr. Scott Harris said.
At the Jefferson County Health Department Dr. Mark Wilson said they learned the disease spread quickly through respiratory means versus surface contamination. Wilson said they learned more about treating patients.
“We have also learned this disease doesn’t go away when the infection goes away. A lot of people are having trouble for weeks and months,” Wilson said.
As for the future, the biggest concern remains over a possible surge of COVID-19 cases. “We still have concerns about the effects of schools reopening and the other activities related to that. We are taking a very careful approach here in Jefferson County,” Wilson said.
Both health leaders also fear a let down in safety measures. “I think we are all extremely fatigued. I think we all are tired of being in this waiting state trying to decide what we can do and not do in hoping a vaccine comes out,” Harris said.
Both men still said there is a lot of misinformation out there on social media about the disease, but now more people are wearing masks than before and many people have personally been touched by knowing someone affected by the disease.