Delta Variant could be contributing to increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations

Doctors are warning of the quick spread and severity of the Delta Variant of COVID-19.

The variant may be stunting our progress as 111 COVID-19 patients now occupy Lee Health Hospitals. This is an increase from Friday when there were only 81 patients.

Doctors are encouraging vaccinations as well as one solution. But, those who have made up their minds about the vaccine and masks simply don’t want to hear it anymore.

There are people who didn’t want to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Now, those people want you to listen to them because they were just like you.

Lamont Boyd is a COVID-19 patient. “I thought the vaccine was a hoax,” Boyd said.

Another patient says they now regret not getting it. “I regret it. Not getting the COVID-19  vaccination.”

“You’re playing Russian roulette with your life,” Boyd said.

Lee Health CEO Dr. Larry Antonucci knows there are people who are not listening to what he has to say, but he went on TV because he still hopes you might.

“I think you have to recognize that you are at risk,” Antonucci said. “Greater than 90% of the patients that are being hospitalized now early health are unvaccinated.”

The graph below shows the increase of cases in Southwest Florida.

Credit: WINK News

“You hate to see suffering, in pain that’s unnecessary,” Antonucci said.

Dr. Rebekah Bernard believes in the COVID-19 vaccines. She says half of her patients have gotten the shot and half have not.

“Never have we seen science being somewhat politicized,” Bernard said. “Of course, there’s always going to be a little bit of that, but never to this extent, where you have people just saying ‘We don’t believe in it, we don’t believe it’s real.'”

Bernard mentioned politicization, so WINK News spoke to Peter Bergerson, a political scientist at Florida Gulf Coast University. He compared vaccine reluctance to the final days before the election: past a certain point, people simply stop listening.

“60 to 70% have already made up their mind,” Bergerson said.

Both Bernard and Antonucci say that if numbers can’t persuade people to get the vaccine, a conversation might. They recommend telling people to talk to their personal doctor. Bernard says that if she can talk to people one-on-one, she’s got a chance.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Drew Hill
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