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Alabama health care providers watching Memorial Day COVID-19 numbers


Memorial Day 2021 is also the first big holiday in Alabama since Governor Kay Ivey rescinded the State’s COVID-19 mask mandate. Ivey’s “safer at home” mandate, which suggested mask wearing and social distancing, ended in early April. Close to three thousand new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Alabama in the last two weeks. UAB epidemiologist Dr. Suzanne Judd says she doesn’t expect a big bump in infections over the weekend.

“I think the people that didn’t want to wear masks and were refusing to follow guidance were already not wearing a mask,” Dr. Judd thought. “I think the people who were wearing a mask will slowly start taking it off. I’m sure everyone is going to celebrate by removing their masks.”

The Alabama Triple-A was anticipating a 60% jump in highway traffic over the Memorial Day weekend. Similar reports show air travel at near pre-pandemic levels as travelers made their way to and from holiday destinations. Still, Dr. Judd says she doesn’t expect a lot of mask wearers to stop masking over Memorial Day.

“If I had to guess, looking at the data, I don’t anticipate a huge uptick in cases. I reason I say is that I don’t think behavior will change that dramatically following CDC guidance.”

The PathCheck vaccination dashboard says less than thirty percent of Alabamians have been fully inoculated against COVID-19. That’s slightly ahead of Mississippi, but behind States including Tennessee, and North and South Carolina.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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