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Health Official Says We'll Have to "Coexist with COVID"


The number of COVID-19 cases in the Quad Cities has tripled during the past month. Officials from Genesis and UnityPoint health systems are worried because their intensive care units are already full with non-COVID patients.  

Robert Eriksen, President and CEO of UnityPoint Health - Trinity, says that, not counting the COVID cases, he's seen more people come through the ICU than this time last year. 

"Maybe the stress of the situation has a comorbid impact in terms of disease state, but right now we're really stressed from an ICU perspective," he said.   

Genesis Health System President and CEO, Doug Cropper says part of the problem is that people are not taking the pandemic seriously. 

Credit Genesis Health System
Doug Cropper

"I read comments or see interviews from people who think this is a conspiracy, and I just - I can't even understand it," he said. "How do you get every single hospital in the country to buy into some conspiracy? This is a real situation, a new disease that has the ability to overrun the health care systems if the community is not being very careful." 

Cropper says that until an effective vaccine is developed, the Quad Cities will have to "coexist with COVID." He estimates a vaccine will take at least six to nine months to develop. 

Marianna Bacallao is WVIK Quad Cities NPR's 2020-2021 Fellowship Host/Reporter. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mercer University's Center for Collaborative Journalism and served as Editor-in-Chief for the student newspaper, The Cluster.