Doctors and health officials say their latest Covid-19 hospital patients are unvaccinated and increasingly younger
Over the past week, 48 states saw an increase in Covid-19 cases, with 30 reporting a more than 50% increase, data from Johns Hopkins University shows.
Low vaccination rates in some areas and increased spread of the more contagious Delta variant are making an already deadly virus even worse, especially for younger, healthy people, Dr. Catherine O’Neal, an infectious disease specialist at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Friday.
“This year’s virus is not last year’s virus. It’s attacking our 40-year-olds. It’s attacking our parents and young grandparents, and it’s getting our kids. And so understanding how different this is and that we can’t take our experience from last year and apply it to today and assume we’re going to be OK is our biggest fight right now,” O’Neal said.
She said her Covid-19 unit now has more patients she would have previously considered healthy than ever before, including people in their 20s.
“You have to get vaccinated,” O’Neal said. “That’s the only way to end it. Masks and mitigation, they’re not gonna take it. It’s going to be vaccination.”
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Friday that, since February, 97% of cases and deaths related to Covid-19 in the state were among those who were not fully vaccinated.
Nationally, the vaccination pace has been slowing, with less than half of the US population — 48.5% fully vaccinated, per CDC data. And it’s the communities with lower vaccination rates that are at the most risk.
As of Saturday, just 36.1% of Louisiana’s population was fully vaccinated according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles County, cases are surging as officials reinstate an indoor mask requirement. The Covid-19 case rate has soared by 300% since July 4, according to health officials.
“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed 1,827 new cases of COVID-19; a four-fold increase from the 457 cases seen on July 4 and an eight-fold increase from the 210 cases seen on June 15,” officials said Saturday in a news release. “This is due to the presence of the more infectious Delta variant and the intermingling of unmasked individuals where vaccination status is unknown.”
The number of those hospitalized with the virus in the county has more than doubled from the previous month, now standing at 462 people, officials said.
Daughter urges vaccination after losing her mother to Covid-19
The daughter of a 63-year-old woman in Little Rock, Arkansas, is urging people to get vaccinated after her mom died from Covid-19.
“She was in the best shape of her life. She was working out five times a week with a personal trainer. She loved to go out and have fun. She was a social butterfly. And she got sick, and it was just a slow decline from there,” Rachel Maginn Rosser told CNN’s Pamela Brown Saturday.
Rosser said her mother, Kim Maginn, had a sore throat a fever for about a week and was “shocked” when she went to the doctor and found out it wasn’t strep, but Covid-19, her daughter said.
Rosser said she felt “helpless” when her mother was dying because she couldn’t go see her when she was in the intensive care unit in the hospital.
“I couldn’t go in to visit her. I had to stay outside of her room and call her on her cell phone to talk to her. She looked really small in the bed. It was hard for her to talk because she was struggling to breathe,” Rosser said.
Rosser, who’s a nurse, noted that her mother didn’t get vaccinated because she believed that since she hadn’t already been infected she wasn’t going to get sick.
Rosser said she pleaded her mom to get vaccinated, but she refused.
“I tried several different tactics. I laid all the facts out for her. I tried to plead to her emotional side of ‘What would we do without you? Could you imagine our life without you?'” Rosser said.
“Part of me wishes I had tried harder. But she was really stubborn. She was stubborn but she wasn’t stupid. I think eventually I would have been able to convince her, but she got sick and she got Covid. And so there wasn’t anymore time to try and convince her.”
Andy Rose and Rebekah Riess contributed to this report.