BATON ROUGE, La. (BRRPOUD) — As temperatures continue to climb, summer will be here before we know it. Humid days and heat advisories are almost certain but with that comes another concern, the possibility of a summertime surge of COVID-19.
Former pandemic response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx is warning of a possible summer COVID-19 surge. Ochsner Regional Medical Director Dr. Aldo Russo said the warm weather in the south is a driving factor.
“We are definitely prepared for any potential surge, we know that the transmission of COVID happens in confined spaces, so what happens in the summertime because the heat is so overwhelming, it can be exhausting, people tend to be inside more,” said Russo.
Louisiana Department of Health State Officer Dr. Joseph Kanter said if and when a summer surge happens, the state is well prepared though he doesn’t believe it would be as severe as the Delta surge was.
“We have augmented capacity in hospitals to care for patients and we have good monitoring systems to track where the virus is going specifically with the ability to perform wastewater surveillance,” said Kanter.
Kanter said about 95% of Louisianans are either vaccinated or have been infected. With the protections of the vaccine and antibodies, it’s still unclear what that means against future infections, even still, he believes we are transitioning into a new normal.
“I expect that as we see future increase in cases of Covid, I think that’s a decent possibility, I expect that we’ll see that without the number of hospitalizations,” said Kanter.
Officials say the largest vulnerability still lies with people who are unvaccinated. Health officials still suggest wearing a mask in spaces where you cannot socially distance yourself.