Here’s what Dr. Megan Ranney had to say about the spike in COVID hospitalizations & deaths

"We’re seeing COVID-19 spread in those states with lower vaccination and booster rates."

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Pat Greenhouse / The Boston Globe

COVID-19 hospitalizations are back to levels we haven’t seen since March, and the U.S. is averaging more than 400 deaths a day. But even though it seems to be the beginning of another wave, Dr. Megan Ranney said that the news is not all bad. 


Ranney, an emergency room physician and academic dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, spoke on the issue Monday during an appearance on “The Lead with Jake Tapper” on CNN.

She described the U.S. as being in a “no man’s land” of COVID-19 right now. Though we are in a surge, hospitalizations are not rising at the same degree as cases, and the number of deaths we’re seeing daily is nothing like the numbers were this past winter, much less pre-vaccine. 


Ranney said that most of the population that is dying is older, and many have not been vaccinated or boosted. 

“I think part of the reason that we’re seeing a surge in hospitalizations right now is because we’re seeing COVID-19 spread in those states with lower vaccination and booster rates in the South and the Southwest,” Ranney said.

She urged people, especially those 65 and older, to get boosted, noting only 25% of the 65+ population has gotten their fourth shot.

“That fourth shot doesn’t necessarily prevent any infection … but it protects against hospitalization and death,” Ranney said. 

She also recommended that people mask while in crowded indoor locations and public transportation modes like subways, buses, and planes, and that immunosuppressed or older people wear masks when they’re out in public — even when it’s not crowded.

Though tools to fight the virus, like pills and nasal sprays, could become available in the next few months, it likely will be much longer before they’re commonplace due to federal funding issues, she said. The best way to protect yourself now, said Ranney, is to get vaccinated and boosted and mask when appropriate.


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