Mid-South infectious disease expert optimistic but says the summer surge is still lingering

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 1:20 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Infectious disease expert Dr. Stephen Threlkeld said he’s optimistic about the direction COVID-19 cases are trending as daily case counts are decreasing, but he cautioned that we’ve been in this situation before.

He compared this to earlier this year in June when there were a few days of zero new COVID-19 cases in the county and stressed that people should not get ahead of the curve in terms of relaxing on guidelines.

“We were a lot better off than this down at 10 people in our hospital when we got to the real lull after the previous peak. So obviously we have to be very careful,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

He said this time around there is not anything known like the Delta variant, that was spreading rapidly across India this summer, set to sway the numbers, but that doesn’t mean we’re through the summer surge.

“We hope with nothing clearly on the horizon with a variant of significant concern that we’ll see the numbers go down, but again there are enough parameters that work against us that we have to be sort of careful about that level of optimism,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

He once again emphasized that being vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from the virus and the best way forward to snuffing out COVID-19.

“The problem is all of those unvaccinated people and previously uninfected people are still targets. And as we’ve seen a lot it seeks them out with a fair amount of efficiency,” Dr. Threlkeld said.

Dr. Threlkeld says the death count from COVID-19 has hit 2,000 in Shelby County and is currently averaging 14,000 a week across the country.

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