HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Amid new record levels of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, state health officials are warning that there is still not enough COVID-19 vaccine to immunize frontline healthcare workers, and that a vaccine will not be available to a majority of the public until mid-spring at the earliest.

“Frankly, I think January has the potential to be an absolute disaster, so things are bleak. I fear they’re going to get bleaker before they get a lot better,” said Alabama Hospital Association President, Dr. Don Williamson.

Health officials said those who are flouting simple CDC protocols, including not wearing a mask or avoiding social gatherings, are helping to spread the virus across the state at a record rate. Nearly 2000 patients are being admitted to the hospital with COVID-19 daily now in Alabama, and deaths are at an all-time high. Large numbers of healthcare workers are also being quarantined after coming into contact with the virus, causing a shortage of nurses and doctors at many hospitals.

“If there’s any retired nurses or retired physicians that would like to come back and help, we would love to do that, and we would work with you if you could only work a few hours,” said Decatur-Morgan Hospital President, Kelli Powers.

Several North Alabama counties are now reporting that over 40 percent of their populations are coming back positive after taking a COVID-19 test.

“If you talk to the doctors and nurses at the hospital, they see how this virus is ravaging those patients. Those families who have lost loved ones, see how this virus is ravaging families and so we need to take this seriously,” said Michael Glenn, Alabama Department of Public Health.

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