NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A record-setting crowd in downtown Nashville on the Fourth of July has one local doctor concerned about a possible spike in COVID-19 cases.
"It does make me a bit nervous," said Dr. David Aronoff, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. "I worry transmission events are occurring, and ultimately that could lead to people losing their lives."
The Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp. said 350,000 people filled downtown for the Let Freedom Sing July Fourth celebration. Visitors came to Music City from across the country to listen to Brad Paisley, the Nashville Symphony and see the largest fireworks show in Nashville history.
Dr. Aronoff said while the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths has dropped substantially since the peak of the pandemic, the virus is still a threat.
"Remember the SARS-CoV-2 virus is really good at spreading even if people have no symptoms at all," said Dr. Aronoff.
Currently, 37.6% of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated, and the state continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country. More than 20 cases of the highly confirmed Delta variant have also been confirmed in the state.
Dr. Aronoff said the best way for people to protect themselves from the Delta variant, and COVID-19 is still to get vaccinated.
"Vaccines are free, are readily available, and they protect us against COVID-19," said Dr. Aronoff. "The most important thing we can do is get immunized against COVID-19."
While it is still too early to tell if the July Fourth event will be the cause of a spike in cases, health experts will keep a close watch on the numbers. Dr. Aronoff encouraged people who attended the event to keep an eye out for any symptoms, and if they develop symptoms, to get tested.
"We have to be prepared as medical providers that we will see more cases coming out of July Fourth celebrations," said Dr. Aronoff. "Obviously, I hope we don’t, but our hospital and other hospitals are ready, in case we do."