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UAB doctors urge mask wearing despite drop in COVID numbers

Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 5:09 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID cases in Alabama continue to show improvements, but Alabama health leaders are quick to point out the state has not turned the corner just yet.

They believed the state is seeing some good news. Numbers are down slightly. They are going in the right direction, but they said it’s not time to give up on getting vaccinations and certainly everyone still needs to keep those masks on for the weeks to come.

Doctors at UAB say COVID numbers are going down, but the Delta variant surge is not going away. The influx of COVID cases continue to strain hospitals providing care for COVID cases.

“Hospitalizations are coming down and new cases across the United States do appear to be coming down. It’s very, very slow compared to the last surge. We have had an 8% reduction,” said Dr. Rachael Lee, UAB Infectious Diseases.

Dr. Lee said she is seeing many cases of younger people being hospitalized and put on ventilators. Some Alabama schools have seen improved numbers and dropped their mandatory mask mandates. A top pediatrician said that is a mistake.

“That doesn’t make any sense. That doesn’t pass the sniff test. That doesn’t make sense. That is what many schools are doing and I can promise you what is going to happen - cases will come roaring back and they will have to do it all over again,” said Dr. David Kimberlin, UAB Pediatric Diseases.

Dr. Kimberlin said schools need to keep the mask mandates until COVID numbers come much further down. Dr. Lee said adults can also help keep students in school if they continue to wear masks.

“Masking is a very simple form of intervention. It’s safe. It’s effective. It’s not 100% effective, but it is one of our many layers of protection we have during this pandemic,” said Dr. Lee.

Dr. Kimberlin said of the growing number of pediatric cases in hospitals, young children are being hospitalized and a number of them are put on ventilators.

Both doctors encourage students and adults to get vaccinations if they are eligible. Otherwise, wear masks and continue social distancing.

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