ALABAMA (WHNT) – Officials at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH) hosted a COVID-19 media briefing Wednesday to discuss the recent surges across the country. 

Experts in the briefing said we do seem to be at a certain plateau in COVID-19 surges, but the big point is that it’s important to see how much work remains to be done. 

Health experts say it’s good news that COVID-19 cases are declining in the Northwest and Midwest, and overall hospitalizations have risen modestly in this surge. However, they add, that it’s not the case everywhere in the United States.

Incidents of COVID-19 have gone from 100 to 800 cases per day in the State of Alabama. 

“It’s concerning that cases in the West and the South are still rising, and hospitalizations nationally are still rising,” noted Dr. Tom Inglesby of the JHSPH. 

Dr. Wes Stubblefield of the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) takes note of the recent surge. 

“Our percent positivity has increased from two and a half percent to about thirteen, fourteen percent,” said Stubblefield.  

COVID-19 continues to be a leading cause of death in the U.S. every week, due to a large unvaccinated and or boosted portion of the population, including those whose vaccination may not protect due to immunosuppression.  

Dr. Inglesby is calling on Congress to fully support the tools used to fight COVID-19 and the emerging monkeypox surge. 

“Funding to develop new vaccines to cope with variants, to fund treatments, to fund testing infrastructure and international response all needs to come from Congress,” Inglesby said. “The administration sent a request to Congress for funding many months ago and Congress has not yet acted on that request.”

Inglesby said it is important for clinical committees to spread awareness about monkeypox and urge everyone to be on the lookout for viral rashes. To date, there are 31 reported cases in the United States. 

“The virus is acting a little differently than it normally does and so we are keeping a close eye on it although most of the experts expect this to be an epidemic because they believe that the spread of this has to do with close and intimate personal contact,” Dr. Stubblefield tells News 19. 

On Wednesday, a second presumed case of monkeypox was identified in Los Angeles County. Cases have been identified in 13 U.S. states. Experts say it’s time that local government does more to prepare for future epidemics.  

“It’s very important to us to continue and for the government to continue, for the clinical community to continue to inform clinics and health care providers and to engage with organizations on the ground that work with high-risk communities about the possibility of monkey pox,” concluded Inglesby.