Physicians at Winfield Internal Medicine submitted the following joint letter to the Journal Record:
Winfield city leaders have recently made a very difficult decision to cancel Mule Day for 2021 due to the dramatic worsening of the COVID pandemic. Cancelling Mule Day has a negative impact on all the local businesses many of whom rely on the event for a large part of their yearly income.
We understand the economic impact of this cancellation. Even so, we would like to openly voice our support of this difficult decision.
The new COVID-19 delta variant is not the same virus we saw last winter. One difference is that a person with the original alpha virus would on average spread the virus to 2-3 people before they realized they were sick. With the new delta variant, that same person will now in infect 6-8 people before they even realize they are infected themselves.
This increased ability to be transmitted combined with our current statewide vaccination rate of 36.8% (≤ 30% for Marion County) has triggered a dramatic spike in cases. Currently 1 in 5 COVID tests are positive with a positivity rate of 21.2% over the last 7 days. This is an extremely high level of transmission and has overwhelmed hospitals around our state and the southeast – including our local hospitals.
A hospital that is overrun with COVID patients cannot deliver the standard of care for other emergencies such as heart attacks, trauma or strokes. There just is not adequate staff or ICU space available.
In addition to stressing the urgent need for vaccination, the CDC has suggested that all people, vaccinated or not, wear masks in public and avoid crowds and large gatherings.
We can be thankful that at this point our businesses are still open. There is no lockdown as we saw in March 2020. Mask wearing is unanimously recommended by medical experts, but there is currently no government mandate, and few are following the recommendation.
In addition to our wanting to support our local businesses, we must also consider the health and well-being of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones as well as the ability of our healthcare providers to care for so many that are critically ill and dying.
Thus far, over 12,000 Alabamians have died from this horrible disease including 108 Marion County residents.
In times of crisis, our leaders must lead and that means making difficult and often unpopular decisions for the greater good. Whether we want to believe it or not, we are indeed in a crisis of historic proportions. We fully support the decision to cancel Mule Day and avoid a “super spreader” event that would cause even more illness and death than we already have.
Winfield Internal Medicine, P.C.
James R. Moss, M.D.
M. Dale Spruiell, M.D.
Gary D. Thomas, M.D.