After week of record high COVID numbers, top Oklahoma doctor says more aggressive measures are needed to save lives


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma surpassed 100,000 cases of COVID-19 this week, and with a rolling seven-day average the highest it’s been since the pandemic, OU’s Chief COVID Officer is again making a case for a more aggressive response.

“We’re not doing a good job right now slowing the spread of this virus,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler Friday.

At the rate the state is going, he said it’s likely about 1,400 Oklahomans will have died by Thanksgiving.

This week, more rural Oklahoma counties are starting to show a higher positivity rate than some urban counties.

“[In] many areas of our state, I think people felt they were protected because maybe they live far apart, they forget that you come together for religious services, for restaurants, to shop, and that’s where people are getting infected,” he said.

Dr. Bratzler said studies show the virus often spreads where you would expect, from family, friends and coworkers, but those who visit places like restaurants, indoor bars or coffee shops are at a higher risk.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has continue to reject a statewide mask mandate, and said he doesn’t believe it’s a “one size fits all solution.”

But Dr. Bratzler said right now, masks, keeping a distance and washing hands are key to staying healthy and out of the state’s dwindling supply of COVID-19 hospital beds.

He pointed out that even the Oklahoma State Department of Health now reports that cities with mask mandates show a lower rate of infection.

“We can continue to go along and just keep waiting and hoping that we get a vaccine out,” Dr. Bratzler said. “Or we can do more aggressive things to slow the spread of the disease and to save people’s lives.”

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