U.S. hospitalizations for patients with COVID-19 have risen almost 500% over the past two months, according to news reports. Also, the number of ICU beds in the South is dwindling.
“We have over 101,000 Americans in the hospital with COVID-19,” says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic’s Vaccine Research Group. “Many of them fighting for their lives in ICUs and on ventilators. We are having over 160,000 new cases and just below 1,000 deaths reported each day.”
Dr. Poland says the people who have been vaccinated for COVID-19 have substantially protected themselves, including against the delta variant.
“But for those who are unvaccinated, there is a grave concern,” says Dr. Poland. “In fact, if you look at the latest model, in the next three months, it suggests that another 100,000 Americans are likely to die of COVID.”
Dr. Poland also responds to concerns that some people are choosing to take an animal medication called ivermectin.
“If I said to you, ‘Instead of an FDA-approved vaccine that’s been tested in hundreds of thousands of people, let’s take a drug that’s used to treat parasites — that hasn’t been studied, which makes people sick, can cause hallucinations and coma, and can cause birth defects — what would you say?'” asks Dr. Poland.
In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland talks about waning antibody levels, COVID-19 vaccine boosters, teenagers needing to be vaccinated, and the sharp increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations for young people. He also answers several listener questions.
Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.
For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in an area not designated for patient care, where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
Dr. Poland has served as a consultant for Merck & Co. Inc., Medicago Inc., GlaxoSmithKline plc, Sanofi Pasteur, Emergent BioSolutions Inc., Dynavax Technologies Corp., Genentech Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc., Kentucky BioProcessing Inc. and Genevant Sciences Corp. Honoraria: Elsevier.
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