SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Local doctors say the fact that Savannahs St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held outside, making it a low-risk event when it comes to COVID-19.
“I think there will be a small increase in cases that come as a consequence of gathering in large numbers where we do not know people’s health status, their vaccination status, but I do not think there will be an increase that really , you know, challenge and threaten to overwhelm our healthcare systems locally, ”says Memorial Healths Associate Medical Director, Dr. Stephen Thacker.
He says that in addition to a local vaccination rate of 55%, many residents have natural immunity to COVID after being infected during the omicron rise.
“The two things combined I think create a different result after big events,” Thacker said.
But after the parade, many people celebrate into the weekend, often inside local bars and restaurants. Thacker says it can be a problem for people at high risk.
“If someone was out walking indoors with large with large groups, while masking is no longer necessarily mandatory, if you are someone who is at high risk for a bad result if they get COVID-19, masking is still a very effective and appropriate way to help keep yourself protected, ”Thacker said.
Thacker also touched on a new COVID variant known as “stealth omicron” which is 30% more contagious, but it does not appear to be more harmful.
“It’s definitely something to keep an eye on, because if it can outcompete the second omicron virus, it could become more common in the area,” Thacker said.
Although he says that as we are right now recovering from the omicron rise, it is less likely that it will have a big impact here due to natural immunity and vaccinations.
Thacker says there is another new variant called the deltacron, which is a combination of the stealth omicron and the delta variant.
However, he says health officials right now are not so worried because there are fewer than 10 cases in the United States