Tennessee leading the nation in new COVID cases

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) – The Volunteer State is breaking national records, and not in a good way.

“Hospitalizations and ICU admits currently are at their highest level ever,” says Dr. Jay Sizemore, the Medical Director of Infection Prevention at Erlanger.

A recent White House report says that Tennessee is the worst state in the country for coronavirus spread.

And on the ground locally, Dr. Sizemore says hospitals have reached their breaking point.

“I think there will be some reprieve at some point, but how close that next threat is – if there is that threat – how close it is, it’s hard to say with any degree of certainty.”

That next threat comes in the form of additional variants. And with rumors of some that are vaccine resistant, Dr. Sizemore says not to give up hope.

“The vaccines are very malleable. I mean, we can adjust in a relatively quick manner to the variations so that we can protect against any of those strains as well,” says Dr. Sizemore.

He says that numbers show a stark difference between highly vaccinated and low vaccinated states like Tennessee.

“The adult admissions have been blunted in those states compared to states like Tennessee where we’ve not only seen dramatic increases in adult admissions but also childhood admissions.”

And while there is a way out, Dr. Sizemore says it will take a community effort to change.

“There are systems and there are tools in place that will work,” he says.

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