Dear Members of the Baylor College of Medicine Community,
The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. may be starting to plateau, but only 53 percent of the population (all ages) is vaccinated. Of those 12 years and older, 62 percent have been vaccinated. Hot spots in the country are moving from the southeast to the Midwest. South Carolina is in trouble, averaging more than 5,400 new cases a day and has the country’s highest rate of recent cases. Cases have started to decline in Florida, but more than 15,000 coronavirus patients are hospitalized, the highest rate in the country.
In this week’s video, I review the numbers, projections, the latest on vaccine efficacy, fear associated with the delta variant, as well as the latest science and some news events. One of those is the Sturgis Bike Rally in South Dakota. Before the rally, the state reported 657 active cases. Two weeks after the rally, that increase to 3,655 cases. Test positivity was 6.1 percent before the rally; 38.8 percent after.
As for schools, a California elementary school teacher took off her mask to read aloud to her class. She was not vaccinated and was not feeling well. She was usually masked but removed it to read. Two days later when she learned she was positive, half of her class of 24 had been infected, and the outbreak spread to other classes and outside the schools.
Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on our nation. This is a time of reflection for the lives lost that day and the impact of that tragedy on all of us. At Baylor, we placed a flag in our courtyard for each person killed that day – 2,977 flags. I invite you to watch our Docapella group singing the National Anthem in honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
Have a great weekend. Stay safe.
Paul Klotman, M.D.
President and CEO