‘We’re stretched to breaking level,’ says Mississippi pulmonologist

Pulmonologist Dr. Ijlal Babar warned about the dire state of health care systems and providers in Mississippi.

“I’d like the country to know that we are stretched to breaking point, that we need help,” said Babar, the Critical Care Director at Singing River Health in Mississippi.

“We’re stretched to capacity right now, our ICU beds are full, we’re having to board a significant number of patients in the ER.”

In Mississippi several schools have already been forced to switch to remote learning as Covid cases and hospitalizations surge across the state. Average daily cases are up 45% over the past week, according to data from Johns Hopkins, while hospitalizations are up 40% over the same time period, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. State officials asked the Biden administration to send a military hospital ship to take pressure off the overwhelmed health care system. 

Babar told “The News with Shepard Smith” that he’s seeing more younger patients compared to the surge in cases last year.  

“The average age is below 50, their lungs are as sick or sicker than they were in the previous surges,” said Babar. “So last year we were seeing people’s kidneys and livers collapsing and we’re not seeing that this time, but the lungs are terrible.”

35.4% of people in Mississippi are fully vaccinated, the second lowest rate in the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Babar said he is advising patients to get vaccinated, but that he’s received pushback.

“I’ve been told by one patient, one very young patient, that she would rather die than get the vaccine, so that’s what we see.” 

Babar added that of the few patients with Covid he has seen who have gotten vaccinated, “no one has needed to be on a ventilator, and almost everybody gets discharged.”

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