Things are so bad in Oklahoma that one doctor is warning the holidays are going to be particularly bad for families who will be mourning loved ones.
Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, NBC News reporter Morgan Chesky said that daily COVID-19 infections have gone up 140 percent while hospitalizations have increased in the state by 130 percent, so far.
"We're seeing cases of patients having to wait up to 24 hours just to get a bed," said Chesky. "And we know that staffing, they are fatigued and worn down simply because the numbers keep going up in spite of the fact that the CDC has recommended not to travel, we know that people all across the nation are going ahead and packing the airports, attending the mass gatherings."
Oklahomans aren't wearing masks, and Gov. Kevin Stitt (R-OK) has been largely MIA on the pandemic. In an MSNBC interview two weeks ago, Tulsa, Oklahoma Mayor G.T. Bynum, a Republican, begged for help from the governor publicly, saying he'd been trying to get the governor to institute a mask mandate and has been unsuccessful.
"We can't control the spread of this virus anymore," he revealed. “Our hospitals have assured me that they will continue to provide care, but the way that they’re doing that is by being really restrictive, and you have to be basically in danger of respiratory failure before you’re going to get in a hospital with COVID."
Oklahoma State House Minority Leader Emily Virgin (D-OK) did a press conference saying that the legislature should step in and do a special session because Gov. Stitt refuses to do anything on the COVID-19 crisis.
“Earlier this year, the Legislature felt it prudent to have legislation to protect public bodies and ensure they could continue to operate without fear of spreading COVID-19,” Virgin said. “As this pandemic continues to grow in Oklahoma, it is common sense that we would extend this exemption and protect the lives of Oklahomans. At this juncture, we need to increase our defenses not put them down.”
“Governor, we are asking you to do the right thing. Protect Oklahomans by enacting a statewide mask order,” Virgin also said. "If the governors of surrounding states and other Red states, like Utah, can make this decision, you can too.”
Hospital staff is citing the lack of mask usage in Oklahoma as the major point of "concern."
"We saw a spike after a big ice storm we had a few weeks ago," said Dr. David Chansolme, medical director of infection prevention at Integris Health. "I think it's a harbinger of what we see when people gather during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. And I think it's going to be very difficult. I think unless we have a really smart Thanksgiving, we're going to have a very sad Christmas."
See the full interview below: