• COVID-19

    Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast: It’s like a Code Red hospital alert

Mayo Clinic medical personnel in full PPE tending to a patient with COVID-19 in a hospital bed

An overwhelming surge of COVID-19 cases is underway in the U.S. The delta variant continues to spread, the lambda variant is showing up, and some people are refusing to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or wear face masks.

"My message today is a hospital term and that's Code Red," says Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert and head of Mayo Clinic's Vaccine Research Group. "It is Code Red in the U.S. and for the globe regarding these variants." Dr. Poland adds that the public has been thinking that the COVID-19 pandemic was over but nothing could be further from the truth.

"You see article after article of people pleading for the vaccine, once they're intubated, or dying, or are begging their family to tell everybody, "We were wrong about this,'" says Dr. Poland. "People who were mocking vaccines and masks are now dead of COVID-19. It makes you feel beside yourself because you're watching a population-wide tragedy occurring, yet can't get the message across to people."

Dr. Poland encourages people to consider these 5 tips to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Listen to credible experts, not people who are celebrities or politicians, but people who know the science.
  • Get vaccinated.
  • Wear a proper mask properly.
  • Limit your travel to only that which is essential.
  • Avoid crowds and if it's inevitable you have to be around a crowd, stay to the periphery and wear a mask.

In this Mayo Clinic Q&A podcast, Dr. Poland goes into detail about the latest COVID-19 research, back-to-school masking, air travel and explains why people who have already had COVID-19 still need to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Watch: Dr. Poland discuss COVID-19:

Read the full transcript.


For the safety of its patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a nonpatient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

Information in this post was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date

Research disclosures for Dr. Gregory Poland.

For more information and all your COVID-19 coverage, go to the Mayo Clinic News Network and mayoclinic.org.

Learn more about tracking COVID-19 and COVID-19 trends.

August 5, 2021- Mayo Clinic COVID-19 trending map using red color tones for hot spots