NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Dr. Alex Jahangir is used to giving tough news to patients.
As the chairman of Metro's COVID-19 Taskforce, here's his diagnosis of where Nashville stands as omicron spreads rapidly.
"You know, we’re in a really precarious place," he said. "There’s a lot of disease in our community, so it is in a tough place."
COVID case counts have quadrupled and the positivity rate has more than doubled in Nashville, in just one week alone. "This is a community problem and we all need to act as a community," said Dr. Jahangir.
With vaccines available, he doesn't want to issue new restrictions. But he does want more personal responsibility.
"And that’s get vaccinated, if you’re feeling sick get tested and stay at home. Socially distance. Don’t go into crowded places if you feel sick or if you’re worried about it," he said.
Dr. Jahangir says while the omicron variant is a milder illness for those who are vaccinated, unvaccinated patients are currently filling up hospitals. "That number is not the highest we’ve ever seen. You know, we were at this level in October and we’ve seen much higher, and um, what we’re seeing right now is the stress we’re putting on hospital systems is the fact that as healthcare workers, we’re becoming infected with coronavirus," said Jahangir.
He wants everyone in Nashville to get vaccinated, if not for the good of other people in their lives, do it for the healthcare workers that are just plain tired after nearly two years of fighting this virus. "The emotional stress it’s causing my colleagues and me is real," he said.
And yet, he and others continue to show up at work and do their jobs. Dr. Jahangir hopes you'll meet them halfway.
"We’re doing our part, please do your part," he said.
Meanwhile, the state announced Thursday they’ll start distributing a new pill from Pfizer, that can be used as a therapeutic. While Dr. Jahangir believes that will eventually be a game changer — until more can be made — only the most critical patients will receive it.