Alabama suffers ‘self-inflicted wound’ of worsening COVID-19

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A worker from the University of Alabama at Birmingham waits for patients to arrive on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, at a mass COVID-19 immunization site in Hoover, Ala., where declining demand prompted a shutdown. While initially capable of vaccinating as many as 2,400 people daily, site workers said far fewer people have been showing up for shots even though only about 25% of Alabama’s population is fully vaccinated. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A health leader says Alabama is suffering a “self-inflicted wound” from COVID-19.

Hospitals are again filling up as the state trails the nation in vaccinations and pandemic precautions like face masks and social distancing are all but forgotten.

The president of the Alabama Hospital Association, Donald Williamson, says there’s a sense of frustration because cases wouldn’t be rising if more people were vaccinated.

Only 166 people were hospitalized statewide a month ago with COVID-19. That low point has been followed by a rapid rise, and more than 500 people are being treated for the virus now.

Some 11,460 people have died of COVID-19 in Alabama, the 17th highest death rate nationally.

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