With spike in COVID-19 cases, what health expert says we can do to stop the spread


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s no secret the coronavirus has played a major role in 2020. As we enter winter months, a spike across the United States and in North Carolina is concerning medical experts.

“We expected an increase in fall, but this has really been shocking and frightening,” said Dr. Rachel Roper.

Roper is an ECU Brody School of Medicine associate professor. With a focus on immunology and microbiology, Roper says it’s imperative people take CDC health guidelines more seriously.

“You need to be wearing a mask that covers your nose and your mouth. If you’re not covering your nose, you’re not protected and you’re not protecting people around you,” said Roper.

When people don’t wear masks, Roper says they could still have the virus, but not show symptoms.

“They could have coronavirus and not know it. Everywhere they go they’re exhaling virus all over the place and infecting everyone near them,” said Roper.

In the last week, Roper said North Carolina saw a spike of over 3,000 cases in a single day. Roper fears mixing COVID-19 with the flu could overwhelm hospitals.

“Our hospitals can get stressed in a normal flu season. So if you’ve got COVID, which we do, health care workers are incredibly stressed. They’re running out of spaces and equipment to care for people,” said Roper.

North Carolina is currently suffering from it’s highest hospitalization rate, with over 1,400 people hospitalized with the virus.

Roper says following health guidelines is the best thing we can do to reduce cases.

“If you don’t want to shut down the schools, businesses, and the economy, the best thing we can do is wear a mask, keep distance from other people, and sanitize your hands,” said Roper.

To learn more about COVID-19 cases and numbers, click here.

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