Doctors say COVID-19 threat worse now than during fall peak

Doctors say COVID-19 threat worse now than during fall peak


The threat of COVID-19 could be worse today than it was when Wisconsin saw its peak in fall and winter, according to Milwaukee County health experts. Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in WisconsinThey said it’s because of a variant that originated in the United Kingdom and is now the most prevalent strain in the United States.According to doctors, the variant is more contagious and causes more severe symptoms than others.”To be clear, for those who are not vaccinated this means that you are substantially more likely to become infected with COVID now through the same level of exposure you would have had in the fall. And also to be clear, if you are infected with COVID now you’re substantially more likely to get severely ill, to get hospitalized or to die,” said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services in Milwaukee County. “This is likely why we are seeing more severe disease in younger, unvaccinated people, and more young people being hospitalized,” he said.He explained the good news is all three vaccines seem to work against the variant so far.Currently in Milwaukee County, 76 people are hospitalized. It is a 50 percent increase than a few weeks ago. During the national case peak in January, 53% of those hospitalized were 65 years old or older. Now, it’s more young people in the hospital.”And this is likely due to our older population being more likely to be vaccinated and protected from sever illness,” Weston said.”It’s really about focusing on the mitigation strategies and doing what you can to keep yourself and your family safe,” said Greenfield Health Department’s Darren Rausch. He said the best thing to do to keep others and yourself safe is to get the vaccine.However, data doesn’t yet show how the variant impacts children, who do not have a vaccine option available to them.”What we do know is that the best way to protect our children, those who are not yet able to get vaccinated is to get vaccinated ourselves,” Weston said.Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret said Thursday the city will review case increases and other metrics next week, and will decide if tighter restrictions and rollbacks are needed.Weston said because it’s too early to tell how the variant affects kids, it’s too soon to discuss potential for school closures.”It’s still very concerning when we consider the increased contagiousness and increased severity of this new strain,” Weston said.Sign up for coronavirus email alerts from WISNGet breaking news alerts with the WISN 12 app.Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

The threat of COVID-19 could be worse today than it was when Wisconsin saw its peak in fall and winter, according to Milwaukee County health experts.

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus in Wisconsin

They said it’s because of a variant that originated in the United Kingdom and is now the most prevalent strain in the United States.

According to doctors, the variant is more contagious and causes more severe symptoms than others.

“To be clear, for those who are not vaccinated this means that you are substantially more likely to become infected with COVID now through the same level of exposure you would have had in the fall. And also to be clear, if you are infected with COVID now you’re substantially more likely to get severely ill, to get hospitalized or to die,” said Dr. Ben Weston, director of medical services in Milwaukee County.

“This is likely why we are seeing more severe disease in younger, unvaccinated people, and more young people being hospitalized,” he said.

He explained the good news is all three vaccines seem to work against the variant so far.

Currently in Milwaukee County, 76 people are hospitalized. It is a 50 percent increase than a few weeks ago.

During the national case peak in January, 53% of those hospitalized were 65 years old or older. Now, it’s more young people in the hospital.

“And this is likely due to our older population being more likely to be vaccinated and protected from sever illness,” Weston said.

“It’s really about focusing on the mitigation strategies and doing what you can to keep yourself and your family safe,” said Greenfield Health Department’s Darren Rausch. He said the best thing to do to keep others and yourself safe is to get the vaccine.

However, data doesn’t yet show how the variant impacts children, who do not have a vaccine option available to them.

“What we do know is that the best way to protect our children, those who are not yet able to get vaccinated is to get vaccinated ourselves,” Weston said.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret said Thursday the city will review case increases and other metrics next week, and will decide if tighter restrictions and rollbacks are needed.

Weston said because it’s too early to tell how the variant affects kids, it’s too soon to discuss potential for school closures.

“It’s still very concerning when we consider the increased contagiousness and increased severity of this new strain,” Weston said.

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