MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – It’s been two years since the media received a news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirming the first case of COVID-19 in the United States. Dr. Ali Hassoun has been on the frontlines since Madison County reported its first case in March 2020.

Dr. Hassoun with Huntsville Hospital says science over the past two years has yielded information, treatment option and a vaccine for the virus. He adds that while those things have evolved some things have not.

“We’re still going through the same problems similar to what we have at the beginning of the pandemic as if nothing had changed. So it’s really frustrating and disappointing,” he said.

Alabama positivity rates climbed again to over 46% as of Friday. Hospitals are seeing an uptick in COVID patients with the Omicron variant and more than half of Alabamians are still not fully vaccinated.

“Til now I have patients who don’t believe in the virus. All this, it’s two years, if it was the first few months I would say ‘Yeah, they don’t have much information. There’s a lot of misinformation. There’s a lot of stuff.’ but it’s two years. You’d hope people would get it,” Dr. Hassoun said.

But it’s not just mindsets. He also said lawmakers on both the federal and local levels were not prepared, which was a setback.

Dr. Hassoun explained, “The public health structure in the U.S and Alabama is not great, not well supported. There’s no good plan for a pandemic and we’re not learning from the lessons we’ve been through.”

He said the virus will continue to evolve as long as it’s transmitted.

“If we’d done a better job in following the science, we’d have been able to control this much better. We would’ve had better outcomes for our patients and we would’ve been able to reduce the death rate by almost 50%,” he said.

Dr. Hassoun added there is hope though. “With this infectious disease, we can still, as we learn more and more, we can still control it. We can still take care of it in the way of management. Getting to convince the public, the community of getting all together to get out of this is very important as well.”

Dr. Hassoun also said to protect yourself and others during the Omicron wave look for a test as soon as your feel symptomatic, try to isolate if possible and if you’re eligible for treatment, seek it.