Vaccine hesitancy holding firm as COVID-19 cases creep up

Southeast

MIAMI (NewsNation Now) — COVID-19 hot spots across the country are continuing to log increases in case counts and hospitalizations. Cases are up more than 145% compared to two weeks ago.

At Jackson hospital in Miami, the number of COVID-19 patients more than doubled in two weeks. The hospital moved its threat level to high and is barring visitors. They have 139 COVID-19 patients right now, but this time last year that number was 485.

When the vaccines rolled out COVID-19 wards cleared out, and many thought the pandemic was under control. However, the highly contagious Delta variant is stymying the progress in some parts of the country.

“We should be worried at this point.” Dr. Aileen Marty with Florida International University said.

Doctors say vaccine hesitancy could delay the pandemic’s end.

Despite one-fifth of the country’s new COVID-19 cases coming from Florida, resident Chris Nelson told NewsNation he won’t get the vaccine. He says he’s skeptical of so much pressure from the government.

“When the government and the media are putting so much pressure on me, on people, to get a medical procedure, to get something injected into our bodies which is a big thing…I want to ask why,” he said.

More than 95% of COVID-19 patients hospitalized nationwide are unvaccinated.

For now, medical experts are largely lukewarm on bringing restrictions back for vaccinated Americans, but there is a growing group of doctors saying it should happen.

“Especially because it is very hard to track who is fully vaccinated and who isn’t,” Dr. Purvi Parikh said on NewsNation Prime. “And even if you are fully vaccinated, you can still spread the virus if you have symptoms.”

Shanna Meyers, 46, died from COVID-19 in Arkansas just weeks after testing positive. She was not vaccinated.

“She really did not think it mattered whether you were vaccinated or not,” a loved one told NewsNation. “One minute she was okay, and then one minute she wasn’t.”

Like Shanna, half of Americans are still not fully vaccinated. Doctors say that could be a life or death decision.

“The vaccine is going to lower your risk dramatically of getting any symptoms,” Marty said. “And even more so of being severely ill or dying. Without it, you can be part of the statistics.”

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