Written by: Haley Herfurth
Media contact: Adam Pope
UAB experts Jeanne Marrazzo, M.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Division of Infectious Diseases, Sarah Nafziger, M.D., vice president of UAB Hospital Clinical Services, and Michael Saag, M.D., professor with the Division of Infectious Diseases and director of the Center for AIDS Research, answer some of today’s most common questions about COVID, the Delta variant, vaccines, masking and more in these YouTube videos — perfect for sharing on social.
The rapidly spreading variant is more infectious than both smallpox and Ebola, according to Marrazzo.
“The Delta variant is much more infectious than any virus we have had to deal with as a routine respiratory virus in the population, ever, in our lifetime,” she said.
Two words, Nafziger says: Get vaccinated. Vaccinations are the key to ending the pandemic. Schedule yours today.
“The vaccine works against Delta, so all you have to do is get vaccinated, and that will help us end this pandemic and get back to normal,” Nafziger explained.
The answer is simple: Cases are high because our vaccination coverage is too low, especially in Alabama, Marrazzo says.
“The places with the best vaccine coverage, meaning more people vaccinated, have by far the lowest levels of COVID,” she continued.
The vaccine protects you from extreme sickness, hospitalization and even death, Saag explains — it could mean the difference between cold-like symptoms and a ventilator.
“Delta is a different animal; but the vaccine is protecting those of us who are vaccinated to a very high degree against hospitalization, going on a breathing machine and possibly dying,” he said.
Nafziger says she gets it — we are all tired of the pandemic. But combining a high vaccination rate with masking, which decreases the spread of the Delta variant, is the key to ending this pandemic.
“When this first started, we prayed and hoped for a miracle. And now we have a miracle in-hand, and that’s the vaccine. When we combine the vaccine with masking, which is something we can do in the interim to keep ourselves safe, we can put an end to this pandemic,” she explained.
We could have a relatively normal fall if we achieve the winning combination: Getting everyone vaccinated and continuing to mask for the time being, Marrazzo explains.
“The more people we have vaccinated, the less vulnerable a population we have to the worst side effects of this virus, so vaccination is probably the principal foundation of getting this thing under control,” she said.