Doctor: Surge in COVID cases ‘horribly bad’

Published 1:00 pm Thursday, July 29, 2021

A leading medical doctor in Brookhaven says everyone needs to take the recent surge in coronavirus cases very seriously.

The numbers of positive cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi are growing higher by the day. After seven days with an average of 1,200 new cases daily, numbers jumped by 50% Wednesday to 1,875 new cases, then climbed again with Thursday’s report of 1,908.

“We’ve seen a huge surge in COVID. We’re giving probably 10 to 15 doses per day of monoclonal antibodies to people who are eligible,” said Dr. Jeffrey Ross, chief medical officer for King’s Daughters Medical Center, referring to protein infusions that help the body fight off harmful pathogens like viruses. “We have multiple people on ventilators and oxygen, and long waiting lines in the ER because of overwhelming numbers of people coming to the ER.”

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KDMC can no longer transport these patients to other hospitals because other Mississippi hospitals are full, the doctor said.

“We’re basically back at square one,” he said.

The chief medical officer said the number one thing anyone can do to help prevent infection is to get vaccinated.

“The risk of complications is low and the effectiveness is very high,” Ross said. “I hear people talking about so-and-so got vaccinated and they got COVID. They might get a new variant, but they won’t end up in the hospital and dying. People who are not getting vaccinated and get [the virus] end up in the hospital and dying.”

An additional precaution is to continue — or return to — the practice of washing one’s hands frequently.

“And for God’s sake wear a mask in public places,” Ross said. “That’s the reason we’re getting this. When you’re not vaccinated and not masked, it allows the virus to get into the population, mutate and create various variants. If people will do these things it will protect them and other people.”

People who are extremely worried about getting the coronavirus should take these precautions and avoid public gatherings, he said.

“And if you have to go into a public gathering, wear a mask.”

For those who are not concerned about the virus at all, Ross has advice, as well.

“In my experience and our experience here in Brookhaven for the last two surges, it causes severe illness in people and it causes death in people,” Ross said. “You can believe gravity is not real, but if you jump off a 10-storey building, you’re going to hit the ground.”

Those who care about their own health and their community should work together to defeat the virus, Ross said.

“Folks need to wake up and face reality. If we fight this thing together, we can get through it,” he said. “If not, we’re going to be overwhelmed again (because) it’s bad, it’s horribly bad.”