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Alabama doctor worried about state's low vaccination rate as Delta variant emerges

One group, Endcoronavirus.org, is petitioning for the CDC to reverse its indoor mask guidelines as the Delta variant emerges.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — “I can tell you, it’s like I was on call the last weekend, and there’s definitely an increase in cases coming to the hospital,” said Huntsville Hospital Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Ali Hassoun.

Dr. Hassoun said he isn't sure if the delta variant is the cause of it, but is concerned that only about 32% of adult Alabamians are fully vaccinated.

“We are worried because as vaccination rates in certain states including Alabama, there’s definitely a report in increased cases,” said Dr. Hassoun.

The Alabama Department of Public Health confirmed that there have been 13 cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus in Alabama. Dr. Hassoun said it could be the dominant variant in the U.S.

“The expectation is it’s going to be like that, because usually what happens it’s going to be a predominant strain with time,” said Hassoun.

A group called EndCoronavirus.org, which is based in New England, has a petition calling for the CDC to reinstate its mask order because of the Delta variant.

So far the petition has more than 2500 signatures, with a goal of 5,000.

“We want the CDC to reverse its advised change. People should be wearing masks indoors or near other people, because that’s the easiest way and the fastest way for people to be infected,” said EndCoronavirus.org Founder, and Professor & President of the New England Complex Systems Institute Yaneer Bar-Yam.

“With the new delta variant, they’ve seen that they could just walk by someone and get infected. That’s how fast it transmits,” added Bar-Yam.

Hassoun said he believes CDC reversing its mask recommendation could be an uphill battle. “I think it’ll be extremely difficult. The problem is, at the moment, there’s a lot of pushback in all different ways,” he said.

Dr. Hassoun said he’s fully vaccinated and encourages Alabamians to receive the vaccine. However, he still wears in masks in certain places.

“I can tell that I still wear masks doors when I go to stores and supermarkets and stuff. I never stopped really,” said Hassoun.

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