‘We’ll be worse off’: Dr. Linda Bell warns potential post-Thanksgiving spike could strain hospitals


CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — As COVID-19 case rates are rising and experts fear that the holidays will bring super-spreader events, sister station WCBD spoke with State Epidemiologist, Dr. Linda Bell, about what we should expect in the coming months.

Dr. Bell said that despite COVID-19 fatigue, staying vigilant is crucial. She said that “if we begin relaxing…measures and taking this for granted, we’ll be worse off.”

She recommends staying home and celebrating Thanksgiving with just those that live in the same household. Doing otherwise increases risks and could potentially put loved ones at risk.

If the holiday does bring a spike in cases, a strain on the hospital system is likely to follow. Dr. Bell said that monitoring hospital capacity closely is critical.

While a COVID-19 vaccine is on the horizon, the distribution of that vaccine is not going to happen overnight.

Dr. Bell said that the state is looking at how to distribute a vaccine in an efficient and timely manner, once one becomes available. She said that plans are in place to get the vaccine to high-risk populations as a first priority.

Until everyone is able to get the vaccine, Dr. Bell encourages everyone to continue practicing measures that are proven to reduce risks: mask wearing, social distancing, hand hygiene, and avoiding groups.

Dr. Bell is also urging everyone to get a flu shot, as a spike in the pandemic is coming amid the flu season.

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