With the rise of Covid-19 cases due to the more contagious Delta variant, evidence continues to mount that vaccination is the key to prevent serious coronavirus illness.
For one Mississippi couple who caught Covid-19, their outcomes provide a growing contrast. The wife, who is vaccinated, recovered after 10 days. But her unvaccinated husband has been in the hospital for 22 days and counting.
“He’s just trying so hard to get better and get home,” Alicia Ball said about her husband, William, whose currently in an intensive care unit battling Covid-19. “We have a lot of people praying for us.
“He means so much to our family. He’s the rock of our family.”
At times holding back tears, she told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Thursday that she is “emotionally and mentally and physically exhausted.”
Ball spoke to CNN from a hospital in Jackson, Mississippi, with her husband lying beside her in bed with an oxygen mask on. He is currently not on a ventilator.
“It’s real. It’s devastating. … It’s been really hard,” she said. “I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to go through this.”
Ball added she and her husband were vaccine-hesitant, but she eventually got the vaccine under her doctor’s care after fears regarding her asthma condition. She said she fell ill for 10 days when she contracted Covid-19 and had to visit an emergency room.
“But I didn’t get put in here for 22 days and counting,” she said.
Ball said her vaccine skepticism stemmed from not knowing just how badly the virus can affect her.
“We just didn’t know the severity of the disease … especially, this Delta variant. … It just hadn’t hit that close to home, yet,” she said.
Mississippi has one of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates, with 34.4% of the total population fully vaccinated, state data shows.
The state is also designated as an area with high transmission of Covid-19, according to federal health data. Over the past week, Mississippi saw 336 cases per 100,000 people, which is one of the highest rates in the US.
The Delta variant of Covid-19 has been spreading throughout the country, compounding concerns among health officials. Safety restrictions and mask guidances are making a return as cases rose by at least 10% in nearly every US state in the last week, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The variant spreads quicker and more easily than the first coronavirus strain and can infect fully vaccinated people whose symptoms are usually milder.
Ball hopes sharing her Covid-19 experience will encourage her loved ones and others to get vaccinated.
“God, I hope so. I hope it’s helped our family, our church, our friends, anybody that sees this broadcast. I hope it helps. That’s why I’m doing it,” she said.