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State Health Officer warns coronavirus ’20-30 times deadlier’ for seniors than the flu

Gov. Kay Ivey has taken some extraordinary steps to stem the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Alabama. Among those were limiting gatherings of 25 or more people or more and closing Alabama’s beaches, preschools and child care centers.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health’s State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, those unprecedented measures will indeed help with the slowing of the spread.

In an interview that aired on Huntsville radio’s WVNN, Harris explained how COVID-19 was having a much more severe impact on seniors than influenza.

“I think we’re having some issues reaching people who are young and healthy because it is absolutely true this is not a disease that is that big of deal for people who are young and healthy,” Harris said. “But when you look at our seniors, people who have chronic health problems — this disease is something like 20-30 times deadlier than the flu. And you know, the flu is pretty bad every year anyway. But this is 20-30 times more deadly than that.”

“For our people over age 80, like my own parents, for example, it is even much higher than that,” he continued. “Even if you’re a young person and you’re not worried about yourself as much, please worry about your family — your own parents, your grandparents, the older people in your community. We really need everyone to buy in and cooperate. And if we can just stick together for a few weeks, we know that we’ll be over the hump.”

Harris noted the spread of a virus that just came into existence near the end of last year had now spread globally. He said that’s the cause for concern for public officials.

“It’s probably more contagious than the flu,” he said. “You know it spreads similarly. There are things that are similar about it — to influenza. But because it is new, there is just a lot about it that is unknown. This virus may not even have existed back in November of last year. And suddenly, it’s sort of popping up in all corners of the planet. We still have a lot to learn, but we know those countries that really worked hard enforcing people staying together like in South Korea or like in China are managing to get over this. And places like Italy, which were really late to come up with these same kinds of guidelines for their population, they are really having a hard time.”

“You know, the day before yesterday, almost 500 people in a single day died in Italy. And you know, that’s a real modern country with up-to-date health care infrastructure. And yet, they had almost 500 deaths in a single day. And so, we’re not trying to be alarmists. We’re not saying that will happen here. But we just don’t know, and that’s why we need people to take precautions and just try to follow these social distancing guidelines.”

@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly and host of Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.

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