Q: Are we seeing a surge in cases too soon or is this natural to see during the summer months?
A: There is an increase in transmission there’s no doubt about that. As time goes on, we do see people taking a more relaxed approach to health guidelines. It’s easy to forget how important social distancing, hand washing, and wearing masks is. But we have seen an increase in testing so with that we’ll also see a spike. We’re also developing a better understanding of the virus so sometimes it will be easier to recognize.
Q: Has there been an increase in hospitalizations at Valley Baptist and other RGV hospitals?
A: There has been an increase. It’s happening more so in Brownsville. There’s even an overflow of patients.
Q: What does it mean to have an overflow of patients?
A: We’re at over 50% capacity with our ICU beds. We have dedicated some supplies for COVID patients and they’re filling up fast. We’ve had to expand our COVID unit.
Q: Should shutting down the state be the last resort or an earlier option?
A: It’s something that needs to be an option always because you never know with this virus. There are so many variables including economic. People have the ability to social distance and stay home, but not everyone is doing that. We’re still looking at how previous orders impacted numbers directly. It is easy to get overwhelmed and plenty of people are suffering from pandemic fatigue. But now is not the time to slow down.
Q: Is there a certain amount of people ignoring guidelines we have to accept?
A: I think there is some of that. We have to accept also this virus has changed the way we live our lives, at least for the near future. But not following guidelines can have a cost in life. And we’re seeing more and more young people in the hospital. That’s not to say the virus is mutating, but it is to say we’re still learning about the virus. It is still new. It’s hard to figure out the details of an unknown virus if the people aren’t doing their part. Now we’re starting to see genetics play a factor. If you have a certain blood type or a predisposition to certain illnesses some research is showing this illness could make the virus worse.
Q: Is herd immunity the most effective method of slowing down a virus before we have a vaccine?
A: That comes with extreme danger. In order to get herd immunity, you have to get sick first or be exposed to the virus. For herd immunity, you would need about 60 to 70% infected. We’re not even close to that. We’re actually close to 5%. If we did get to that number fast, it could spell disaster. But we also don’t know how long immunity lasts after exposure. Immunity could last two months. If it’s that short-lived, herd immunity would be pretty difficult to achieve.
You can watch the full interview here.