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COVID-19 deaths are going up as hospitalizations decrease

Alabama currently leads the U.S. in the number of COVID-19 related deaths per capita with about...
Alabama currently leads the U.S. in the number of COVID-19 related deaths per capita with about two deaths per 100,000 people in the last week.(WBRC)
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:58 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama currently leads the U.S. in the number of COVID-19 related deaths per capita with about two deaths per 100,000 people in the last week.

COVID deaths are a lagging indicator, so the numbers will unfortunately continue to rise. With the state’s low vaccination rate, doctors say it’s unclear when we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.

COVID hospitalizations are declining in Alabama, but it’s not because all patients are getting better and heading home. Doctors at UAB say these patients are dying. It’s a grim reality that’s shows the pandemic is still far from over.

“The deaths that I’m seeing for the last six months have almost all been unvaccinated people. These are totally preventable deaths,” Dr. Michael Saag, infectious disease expert at UAB said.

Over the past few weeks Alabama has seen double digit deaths on a daily basis. Dr. Saag says more than 90% of the people in ICU’s around the state and country are unvaccinated people.

“By the time they get in the ICU, you can’t hit a reset button. This isn’t like playing Madden 22 or a video game where if you are starting to lose, you just unplug and start over. You can’t do that. This is a one-time shot,” Saag said.

The situation is leaving healthcare workers beyond frustrated knowing the vaccine could have prevented these deaths.

“I went into medicine to help people get well and to survive illness and we’re dealing with an uphill climb with coronavirus and people not vaccinated and its very demoralizing to all of us in the hospital and all of us in the community who see friends and family dying because they were not vaccinated,” Dr. Saag said.

Even though our vaccination rate is slowly improving, it’s still one of the lowest in the country. Doctors say it’s putting more people at risk which could lead to even more deaths in the coming months.

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