Health officials are now saying a third wave of COVID-19 has arrived in Oklahoma, and it could be the worst we have seen.
"This third wave will have exponential growth that we did not see with the first two waves,” Oklahoma Dr. George Monks tweeted Thursday afternoon. “New cases and hospitalizations will rapidly increase here in Oklahoma just like in every other country the #DeltaVariant has hit."
The state reported 705 new cases Thursday with 97 patients in the ICU.
Hospitals are preparing for the worst as emergency rooms across the state have already seen an uptick in patients.
Health professionals said 50% of current cases are among the 15-to-44 age group.
OU chief COVID officer Dr. Dale Bratzler said the red tide is coming, and he is concerned about the vaccination rate in younger Oklahomans.
"Maybe that's appropriate because they are less likely to get that sick, but they can definitely spread the disease,” Dr. Bratzler said. “That is why I am so worried about schools opening because that remains very low.”
Dr. Bratzler also believes the Delta variant is impossible to keep out of schools. He also hopes everyone will continue to wear a mask indoors in crowded settings.