As the delta variant nears 100% of coronavirus cases nationwide Alabama continues to be the worst state in the country for getting its population vaccinated. Barely more than one in three Alabamians (34.6%) are fully vaccinated, compared to one in two Americans (50.3%).
Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris announced Friday that one month ago there were less than 200 people in the state hospitalized with COVID-19. Today there are over 1800.
"We've had three straight days of double-digit deaths," Dr. Harris announced, the first time in months they've seen a death rate like that. They've also had four straight days of "much higher" coronavirus cases per day, now "ten times higher" than one month ago, more than 3000 per day.
The state has 1.5 million doses currently available, but more than 65,000 doses just expired, Dr. Harris told reporters, calling it a "shame" they had to be thrown out because there are people around the world desperate for vaccines.
The state's vaccination rate is increasing, now at about 10,000 doses per day.
Alabama Republican Governor Kay Ivey two weeks ago expressed frustration with her state's residents not acting to get vaccinated. But Dr. Harris reiterated that Gov. Ivey refuses to impose a mask mandate, making clear he disagrees with her.
"There should be universal masking regardless of vaccination status," Harris stated, noting even vaccinated people can transmit the coronavirus.