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COVID hospitalizations are up, while the vaccination rate remains low in Alabama

The delta variant has taken the world by storm and with many people in Alabama not being vaccinated, this could be a recipe for a spike in infections.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — "The delta variant is very different than the other variants that we've seen before. This one spreads much more rapidly and we're seeing it right here in our own state," said UAB Professor and Epidemiologist, Suzanne Judd, Ph.D. 

As of August 13, Alabama is the least vaccinated state in the country and COVID cases in South Alabama have skyrocketed.

One epidemiologist put this upward trend of COVID cases in a graph.

Credit: UAB
Actual and Predicted Epidemic Curves in Alabama.

RELATED: All 67 Alabama counties at high level of community COVID-19 transmission, ADPH COVID-19 dashboard shows

This graph shows what could happen if North Alabama sees cases rise like South Alabama and yes, we are that huge spike towering over the UK and India - where the delta variant originated.

This is bad because if this becomes a reality...

"Within two weeks, statewide, we'll wind up with 13,000 cases a day, that'll translate to somewhere between 7,800-8,000 hospitalizations, which is nearly double what we experienced last January," said Judd.

Credit: UAB
Impact of Outbreak this Fall.

RELATED: Alabama hospitalizations soar, ICUs at 95% capacity

She says it's important to slow the spread so that those who do get infected can actually receive the right care.

"We want to slow the spread of this particular variant, so we don't get in a situation where we have 8,000 hospitalizations, but it is very possible with this variant if we don't change our social behaviors," said Judd.

She also said social behaviors are about to change even more with school back in session.

"We started to slow down just slightly but there are going to be changes in social behaviors around the corner. Schools are starting, universities are starting, people are going to be getting together with other folks that are not in their social circle. So, we anticipate the cases will start climbing again even though they seem to be maybe slowly leveling off a little bit in the last couple of days," said Judd.

Credit: UAB
Actual vs Estimated Hospitalizations.

RELATED: UAB pediatric doctor pleads for masks in schools, vaccinations for 12 and up

The epidemiologist says that we are not used to dealing with major infectious diseases, so we have to think back to times where infectious diseases were more common and everyone had to play their part. In the case of COVID-19, health professionals say that doing your part is getting vaccinated and wearing a mask.

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