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Doctors believe summer COVID surge unlikely

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Just about a year ago, Arizona saw a huge spike in COVID-19 cases at the start of the summer.

So, what will this summer look like?

News 4 Tucson's Eric Fink talked with doctors and local health leaders to get their take.

A much different COVID outlook as we head into the summer of 2021.

"This is going to be a vastly different summer compared to the one we experienced 12 months ago. That is my hope and expectation," Pima County Supervisor Matt Heinz said. "The number of folks here in Pima County getting vaccinated has been exceeding, been ahead of most other places in the state."

Last summer, there were days when the number of COVID patients in the hospital was so high, open ICU beds were in the single digits across Pima County. Spencer Graves works for the Pima County Health Department.

"The last wave did a doozy on the whole system. We are hoping we don't have to go back into that defensive posture," Graves said.

The Arizona Department of Health Services tallies more than 400,000 people in Pima County who are fully vaccinated, that's 44 percent of the population.

Dr. Sudha Nagalingam an infectious disease specialist with El Rio Health said that when the CDC recently lifted mask requirements indoors for those vaccinated against COVID, it gave more people a reason to get the shot.

"People who were probably on the fence about getting vaccinated or not, they looked at it like 'hey this is my passport to getting back to that normal that I really want,'" Nagalingam explained.

As we all hope to get back to normal sooner rather than later, Nagalingam has this message:

"The key is to get vaccinated. We know it is safe. It is effective. It is 100 percent effective in preventing mortality from this disease," Nagalingam said.

Some doctors explain that the big concern with a potential surge is the COVID-19 variants.

Dr. Fauci warns the public this week that more Americans need to get vaccinated before the delta variant from India becomes more prevalent in our country.

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Eric Fink

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