WATCH: Dr. Dowell Calls Unvaccinated Wyomingites ‘Sitting Ducks’
Natrona County Health Officer Dr. Mark Dowell has put out a new video in which he discusses the Delta Variant of the coronavirus, the contagion level, and why those who are not vaccinated need to be.
"The Delta Variant is real," Dr. Dowell stated. "It's more contagious than any other COVID-19 strain we've seen so far, but probably not more aggressive in terms of hospitalizations or deaths."
Dr. Dowell stated that the Delta Variant is responsible for "most all" of the new cases of COVID-19 in the United States right now, and he also said that he believes more variants will make their way into the country as well.
Dowell also said that the Delta Variant is affecting various types of people, both vaccinated and non-vaccinated.
"The vaccine's working great," he stated. "It's keeping people out of the hospital and keeping people from dying. And that's the whole goal. What the vaccine has done is either prevented people that are vaccinated from having any symptoms at all; or they have cold-like symptoms. Rarely do they get really ill, but most of the time it's that annoying common cold. That's what we wanted in the first place."
Dowell also reminded viewers that the majority of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are made up of the unvaccinated.
"Remember, the hospitalizations due to COVID-19 - 99.8% of them are people who have not had their vaccine," he said. "So those of you out there who have not had a vaccine; you're a sitting duck right now."
Dowell said that as a society and as a country, we want to be completely rid of COVID-19. That's only going to happen, he said, if people get the vaccination.
"I don't want you to get sick," he said. "[COVID-19] doesn't want to get put in the rearview mirror and it's looking for fresh meat to infect. And that's the nearly half of Americans that are not vaccinated."
Dowell then pointed out areas like Florida and Missouri where COVID cases are skyrocketing. Again, he said, those cases are among those who are unvaccinated.
"The tool is the vaccine that's sitting right in front of us," he said. "As every day passes, it's more and more obvious to those of you out there; it's safe. And it works."
Dowell said in Cheyenne, there are as many people hospitalized with COVID-19 now as there were in January.
"I'm sick of this," Dowell said. "Do you guys want to go back to masking and all of that stuff again? We may have to if this continues to spread. I don't want a single person ill but, you know, as an infection specialist, it's just hard for me when I see people hospitalized and sick from COVID that haven't been vaccinated; I say 'You could have prevented this.' And I feel badly, I really do."
Dowell continued, stating that 'The message today is that we have the opportunity to nip this thing in the bud and get on with life, but we're acting like we can't for some reason. Please believe me; the science is there. The evidence is there."
Dowell asserted that we have the opportunity to keep our community healthy.
"Otherwise, I guess as a society we've said, 'Okay, in the United States, even though we have a vaccine that the rest of the world is begging for, it's okay that a certain percentage will die and get hospitalized and get long COVID effects. That's okay. We're willing to accept that.'"
Dowell said that he is not being 'Alarmist.' He also said that in certain parts of the country, like New Jersey, where most of the state is vaccinated, he felt a lot safer.
"Wyoming, I love this state," Dowell said. "[But we're] 48th out of 50 states in terms of vaccination rates. Not okay. Not okay at all. Please rethink it. Everybody has their own rights and decisions to make but step it up. Step up for the team. Let's do it together."
Video of Dr. Dowell's comments can be seen below.