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COVID-19 spreading, but deaths down

By MOLLEE BRELAND, Alabama Daily News Intern

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Alabama’s top public health official says those with health risk factors should be concerned about the latest uptick in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, but also had encouraging news for Alabamians concerned about the virus. 

“Now that we have vaccines, now that we have monoclonal antibodies that are effective, now that we have oral medications that are effective – and because the variant itself is a little less deadly on average, we are seeing that de-coupling, if you will, from the case numbers and the numbers of deaths. That is the one fortunate thing,” said Dr. Scott Harris, Alabama’s State Health Officer in a recent Capitol Journal episode.

“If you’re somebody who is medically vulnerable because of your age or because of health problems and, particularly, if you’re unvaccinated, I don’t think the situation has changed that much for those folks,”  “For people who are fully vaccinated I think you can pretty much do what you need to do. If your community is seeing high numbers of transition going on, the obviously you need to exercise caution and be careful about large groups of people.” 

Harris said more than 600 people are now hospitalized with the virus. That’s down from a peak of more than 3,000 last year. 

Positive COVID-19 tests are rising nationally as a result of the new Omicron subvariant termed BA.5 is spreading quickly. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the subvariant is more infectious than previous strands and make up about 65 percent of current COVID-19 cases. Despite numbers of sickness and deaths rising, BA.5 appears to have milder symptoms. 

People carrying the virus have reported experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms that are frequently associated COVID-19 including: fever, sweats, runny nose, sore throat, fatigue and lingering congestion. Additionally, some have reported a new loss of taste or smell. 

The Alabama Department of Public Health reminds residents to continue practicing appropriate measures to prevent the spread, such as social distancing and mask-wearing where necessary.

The CDC recommends that anyone 6 months and older get vaccinated to protect themselves. Those 12 years and older should also stay updated on their vaccination and get the booster shot. 

To stay up-to-date on vaccination data, visit 

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