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Health experts warn of COVID surge due to holidays

Posted at 5:26 PM, Dec 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-26 21:35:57-05

As families wind down from their holiday celebrations, Oklahoma health experts are concerned about the aftermath.

Health officials expect a surge in Coronavirus cases from family gatherings over the holiday season.

The CDC gave a few recommendations for the holiday season; family members living in the same household should wear masks and socially distance from one another.

They also suggest outside family meet virtually over a video call instead of in person.

Dr. Dale Bratzler, the Chief COVID officer at the University of Oklahoma, says he knows not everyone will be able to follow the CDC's guidelines.

He expects hospitalization numbers to spike in the next two weeks, even with a COVID vaccine being administered across the state.

“We might have another 700 to 800 people that would be hospitalized over the 1,700 plus that we have in the hospital today. So, I think we’re going to see increased cases for a while., and just because the vaccine is out it’s not going to slow the spread of the virus any time soon.”, Dr. Bratzler says.

With nurses and physicians stressed and tired, heading into a possible surge without being able to enjoy a holiday break.

“The healthcare workers are frustrated. They’re tired and they’re frustrated. They’re frustrated when they see the impact of the disease. They’re frustrated when they see people in the community not heeding the warnings and not doing the things to prevent the spread of the virus.”, Dr. Bratzler says.

After New Years', models project COVID cases to peak in Mid-January.

“I think we’re still going to see increased cases for a while, and just because a vaccine is out it’s not going to stop the spread of the virus any time soon.”, Dr. Bratzler says.

He says everyone needs to stick to the recommended CDC guidelines of wearing a face covering and staying socially distant even though the state has a Coronavirus vaccine in-hand. He says 75% of the population needs to get vaccinated before we can reach what’s known as herd immunity. He says that could take another several months, still.

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