St. Louis infectious disease expert warns of renewed COVID threat

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ST. LOUIS — A Washington University infectious diseases specialist is raising the alarm about the renewed threat of COVID-19 spreading throughout the St. Louis area.

Countless people are set to gather with their families for Thanksgiving and other holidays throughout the winter season. Dr. Hilary Babcock suggests those gatherings be small and limited to vaccinated individuals only.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported that COVID-related hospitalizations are up again from 302 Tuesday to 308 Wednesday. The latest number of cases includes two children.

Just 23% of hospitalized COVID-19 patients are vaccinated. Seven more deaths have been reported in the past two days. Babcock warned that COVID-19 is not taking the winter off.

“We had a small surge a month or two ago,” said Babcock. “As those numbers started to go down, people started relaxing their restrictions and going without masks, getting together with more people, and that just allows the virus to spread. We all wish that COVID wasn’t here anymore, or it wasn’t as big of a deal, but it really is still here, and it is rising right now in our community, and it’s still really important to take these protective measures.”

Babcock said hospitals in the St. Louis area are running fully again with COVID patients, and other people are getting sick from winter illnesses. She strongly urges everyone to get the COVID vaccine, wear a mask and avoid large crowds.

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