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'Race against mutation' | Doctor issues strong warning amid COVID-19 pandemic

Dr. David Callaway, Atrium's chief of disaster medicine, says we're in a "battle for our lives" as COVID-19 cases continue to rise nationwide.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Dr. David Callaway, Atrium Health’s Chief of Disaster Medicine, said the next four weeks are crucial.

"We are in the midst of a battle for our lives right now and it's not over. We're in a race against mutation," Dr. Callaway said.

"The hospitals are in crisis mode, were pretty full, we’ve gotten very good at being efficient," he said. "But one more mutation in the wrong direction of the virus and it’s a totally different ball game." 

North Carolina reported 7,187 new cases Thursday afternoon. According to DHHS data, there are 3,666 people hospitalized statewide with 8,339 deaths linked to the virus.

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But Dr. Callaway said we can fight it by getting as many people vaccinated in the next four weeks as possible.

He’s on the team helping organize the vaccination sites and said they’re ready to scale up, thanks to partnerships with the Charlotte Motor Speedway and Bank of America stadium to do mass vaccination clinics.

"Every day we get better and more efficient. I feel pretty good about how aggressively were leaning in," he said. "I think by the end of the month we're going to be a national leader." 

Dr. Callaway said they’re also working on ways to reach some of the more vulnerable populations, like people who can't get to the vaccination sites/ 

He also said it's still important that we continue to wear masks, stay socially distanced and get vaccinated. 

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