A slight increase in COVID-19 cases in the United States has caused many to worry about whether or not the government might try to reinstitute strict protocols seen during the height of the pandemic if the number of sick continues to rise.

According to the CDC, there were 12,613 hospitalizations of people with COVID-19 the week of August 12. That compares to 41,113 hospitalizations during the same week last year and 77,625 hospitalizations during the same period in 2021.

State Sen. Larry Stutts (R-Tuscumbia) is a physician. He said he has noticed more people wearing masks but isn't sure why. He also said he hopes those in charge in Alabama don't have the same reactions they had in 2020.

"If you want to wear a mask, wear one, but I don't want any mandates," Stutts told 1819 News. "I'm hopeful that people learned that it didn't work last time and it just ran its course. We totally lost sight of everything.

"The original deal was to wear a mask and social distance to flatten the curve, and that didn't occur. Then there was, get a vaccine and you can't get it, and that wasn't true. Then, if you get a vaccine you can't transmit it to other people, and that wasn't true. So, it ended up this different variant, and it ended up running its course over a couple of years. So, I hope the state health officer and the others learned that mandates didn't work last time."

In March 2020, Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state public health emergency and issued multiple orders shutting down businesses and prohibiting gatherings of 25 people or more. The orders prohibited restaurants from serving on-premises, closed schools and stopped "non-essential" workers from going to work.

"These measures taken by the Alabama Department of Public Health are out of an abundance of caution in order to contain the area where the most cases of the COVID-19 are present," Ivey stated at the time.

As a result of the orders, some businesses never recovered.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris stated, "We understand that the health orders issued will be a hardship on Alabamians. We must, first and foremost, protect the health and safety of our citizens. This decision has not been made lightly and will help to prevent the spread of this virus."

However, Stutts said the reaction was unnecessary.

"I hope that the people that made those decisions last time learned their lesson," said Stutts. "Hopefully common sense will prevail this time."

"...I would be shocked if she [Ivey] did something like shut down businesses or churches. I don't think she will do that again. That's just my opinion. I don't have any inside trader information, but I would really be surprised if she did something like that again."

If COVID does make a resurgence, Stutts said the guidelines we should give ourselves are simple.

"If you're sick, stay home, wash your hands and use your common sense," said Stutts. "It's what we've done for generations. These are the things we know that help reduce the spread of infections and the things we did last time didn't work so don't be stupid and do them again."

To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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