As COVID Cases Continue to Rise in Missouri, Gough Stresses Getting Vaccinated

July 27, 2021

By Thad Requet

Just when it looked as though the worst had passed with COVID-19, the Delta Variant has been spreading at a rapid pace and Missouri is one of the top two or three leading states in the country with rising cases.

Shelby County Health Director Audrey Gough said that vaccination is more important now that ever. “The only way we are going to get any sense of normalcy back is that we need to get vaccinated,” she said. “That is historically the way we have driven out viruses in this country. Polio and smallpox are examples. There was no hesitation about that vaccine because people were dying. There was no push back like there is now. People need to stop looking at this as a political issue by the government,” she said.

The Delta Variant has proven to be aggressive and tends to be very symptomatic to those who have not been vaccinated. Those who have been vaccinated can still get it, but their symptoms for the most part have been less extreme. “This Delta Variant is taking out people and spreading through families. You can get it from people in five minutes of face to face conversation. People are vacationing and getting back out and doing things. For those who haven’t been vaccinated, they are putting themselves in danger,” she said.

“We are going back to where we were last fall where hospital beds are not available. Hospitals are in critical conditions right now. Many hospital staff members are burned out. Hospitals are filling up quickly. There is a chance they may have to stabilize you at the ER long enough to then send you to another hospital that may have a room for you,” Gough said.

She said she understands that some people are not sure about the vaccine. “I know people are scared, so talk to your doctors, talk to your health care providers. Those people are people you can trust.”

“We are focusing our efforts on the wrong things and it’s heart wrenching to watch,” she said, talking about politicians getting involved.

“You can’t paint enough pictures for people to explain how bad this is. As we all know, all viruses change. The Delta Variant is already changing into something different called Delta Plus.

Lambda is another variant that is showing up in Houston already. We have people who travel all the time for business. They get exposed, especially if they don’t take precautions. We need them to get vaccinated.”