TRANSCRIPT: August 3, 2021 City of Southport Community Update #2: COVID-19

This is Dr. Joe Pat Hatem, Mayor of the City of Southport.

There is a Public Health Crisis in the United States and around the world and we the people are responsible for our own destiny. We can turn away from the facts, the data, or we can embrace the science, the medicine, and the public health initiatives that can reverse the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Delta Variant Coronavirus that is overwhelming the world.

The facts are that the Delta Variant is more transmissible than the original Coronavirus and is as contagious as some of the more transmissible viruses including Chicken Pox, Measles, and the Common Cold. And we all know how easy it is to “catch a cold”.

This Delta Variant is a highly transmissible and contagious virus and it is the scourge of those who are not vaccinated as the majority of new cases are among those who have not received the vaccine. The Coronavirus mutation is a direct correlation to its replication.  If the cases are low, the replication is lower, and the mutation is less.

The vaccine initially helped to control the pandemic as cases dropped dramatically, but as vaccination rates decreased, as our country opened up to pre-pandemic standards, no masks, large gatherings, including July 4th celebrations and large sporting events, as well as just normal indoor gatherings, cases began to rise.

In the United States, COVID-19 cases, the majority of which are the Delta Variant, newly reported cases on July 3rd—3,993.  On July 29th, newly reported cases—95,083.  In North Carolina, July 3rd—429 cases, and on July 29th—3,268 cases reported. In Brunswick County, July 3rd — zero cases reported and on July 29th—57 new cases.

Since this country did not achieve herd immunity, did not achieve between 70% and 90% of our population being vaccinated, the virus was allowed to replicate. Each time it replicated, it evolved into a more transmissible and more deadly Delta Variant Coronavirus with severe clinical consequences, especially for the unvaccinated, this includes children who are ineligible to receive the vaccine.

How do we move forward?  By communicating a clear message that the only way for our country to be successful in conquering this pandemic is to IMMUNIZE OUR WAY OUT OF THE PANDEMIC. It is a very clear and easily accomplished recommendation:  TAKE YOUR BEST SHOT!!! Vaccines are available and are free. They are a lifesaving measure and it will protect you, your family, and your children, your neighbors and your friends—especially think of the children who cannot receive the vaccine those under the age of twelve. What are the long-term consequences for the health of a six-month-old child that contracts COVID-19?

The vaccine prevents severe illness, hospitalization, and death but it does not reduce transmission as a vaccinated person can carry the virus and transmit it to the unvaccinated. That is why wearing a mask indoors, and social distancing, will help to decrease transmission of viral droplets and lessen the spread of the disease.  This is what I recommend for our citizens, city, and all who visit Southport.

I am proud of the citizens of Southport and our Southport businesses, so many of you have risen to the challenge and have adapted as the pandemic has changed and evolved. We are all in this together.

As your Mayor, as a doctor, as a public health advocate, I implore each of you to follow the above recommendations. And by doing so, you will be among one of the heroes who have helped to save lives.

Stay Well, Stay Safe, and Stay Southport Strong