HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Birmingham Veterans Affairs Hospital system’s interim director Dr. Oladipo Kukoyi wants to make sure what’s happened the last few weeks is not taken lightly, and encourages the public to observe Tuesday’s noon moment of silence honoring the 12,400-plus Alabamians who died from COVID-19.
“It’s summer time but it feels a lot like winter to me,” Kukoyi said.
“We’ve lost more in the past few weeks than we have in the past four months before. We had no deaths after January and February. Everybody remembers the peak back then. But then over the past three weeks you have people dying every week.”
The Birmingham VA Hospital system is one of many in the Alabama Hospital Association asking the public to take part in the moment of silence, picked for the first day after the holiday.
“I’ve grown to not like holidays over the past two years,” Kukoyi said. “After a holiday…almost two weeks later, we see a rise in cases. I hope that’s not the case this year.”
While happy to recognize all victims and their families, he said it’s painful knowing that those who served our country keep dying in Alabama VA hospitals.
“It is appropriate to stop and be sober and to be thankful that we have the opportunity to be around and to fight and make sure nobody else dies from something that’s largely preventable.”
But simply getting vaccinated is the best way you can support medical workers and fight misinformation, he adds.
“One of my biggest worries at the beginning of all this was, ‘what if we found medicine that worked but nobody wanted it?’ Kukoyi said. “And that’s exactly what’s happening. Unfortunately we live in a time of polarization now. And so that’s challenging for healthcare professionals like ourselves. We just want to save people’s lives.”