MIAMI (WSVN) - A rapid rise in coronavirus cases is sending more sick people to a major South Florida hospital, and they say nearly all of those being admitted have not had their vaccine.
COVID-19 cases are surging in the U.S., despite vaccination efforts.
The highly transmissible Delta variant is largely responsible for the rise in cases among unvaccinated Americans.
The surge pushed the Jackson Health System to upgrade its COVID-19 threat level to “high” at most of its facilities effective immediately.
“We’re starting to see spikes in cases,” said pediatrician Dr. Lisa A. Gwynn. “It shouldn’t surprise any of us because only half of the people in this country are vaccinated. The more patients or people who aren’t vaccinated out there, not wearing masks or acting irresponsibly, the higher the case rates are gonna go.”
Health officials say misinformation about vaccines on social media and elsewhere are playing a role in the surge.
Throughout the Jackson Hospital System, they’ve gone from treating 66 COVID-positive patients on July 6 to 139 cases Monday — a 111% increase in cases.
Of the 139 cases, 95% are unvaccinated people.
“Their sources for information for why they’re not vaccinated tend to be sources that are not really reliable,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease specialist at Florida International University.
As students get set to return to the classroom, health officials are offering new COVID-19 guidance.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends in-person learning and is urging anyone who is eligible to get a vaccine to get one.
But the group is going further, recommending anyone 2 years old or older wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
“Unfortunately, this business of unvaccinated having to wear masks and vaccinated not having to wear a mask is just not gonna work in schools,” Gwynn said. “Kids are not being required to provide proof, so the only way to — convincingly and equitably — is to have everyone in masks.”
The AAP argued a large portion of students still aren’t eligible for a vaccine and that masks have been proven to work.
But Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho said positive signs like low positivity rates, ample hospital beds and vaccine availability are enough to stick to the original plan.
“On the basis of these three elements, which are still fairly good for Miami-Dade, we are maintaining the position that we announced a couple of weeks ago, which is of mask optional as we return back to school,” Carvalho said.
Due to the spike in cases, Jackson Health System will no longer allow visitations for most in-patient units.
They are set to host a news conference on Tuesday afternoon to discuss this decision and more.
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