UNC doctor predicts September COVID surge coming after Labor Day

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- You need breaks and a little bit of patience when traveling with a toddler.

The Deshmukhs picked a rest stop off I-40 on their trip back to Raleigh from Carolina Beach Monday.

Their son Neal is two years old.

"We were mostly outdoors and we are all vaccinated except him of course," said Parik, Neal's father. "It's been interesting. He was supposed to start daycare in March 2020 but he hasn't gone yet but he's probably going to start next week I hope. Let's see how that goes."

There's no guessing for doctors that another summer holiday will lead to a September surge.

"It's not the travel or the holiday that creates the increased risk," said Dr. David Weber, infectious diseases physician at UNC Health. "It's what you do when you get to the end of that travel so if you go get together with large groups of people indoors particularly unmasked when there's no physical distancing whether it's friends, family or some type of sporting event or gatherings then there's risk of transmission."

Dr Weber stressed the effectiveness of the vaccines even against the contagious Delta variant.

He pointed to statistics of UNC's COVID patients which show that 80% of those in the hospital are unvaccinated.

FULL CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

Of those in the ICU, that number rises to 90% of people unvaccinated.

"The vaccines work very well and they work very well for preventing hospitalizations and deaths," Dr. Weber said.

He said booster shots will also soon be approved for those immunocompromised individuals.

"Everywhere we went to was pretty strict about masking and they didn't have too big of a crowd or anything," said Becky Mariani, who was coming back from a bachelorette party in Kure Beach. "We were all a bit nervous before but we all got tested before we went."

She went last year but the Winston-Salem resident said she felt more confident this time around.

"If anybody didn't feel comfortable, they didn't have to come," she said. "We tested before and after and we did everything we could to be safe. We have to live our lives a little at the same time."
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.