The US city of Houston could be the worst-hit in the entire country if the current trajectory in Covid-19 cases continues as it says, a health expert has warned.
Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine, said new infection rates are also accelerating in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio, and that case numbers could rival those in Brazil.
“The big metro areas seem to be growing very quickly and some of the models are on the verge of being apocalyptic,” Hotez told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
Hotez, who is also a professor of pediatrics and molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine, is working on a potential Covid-19 vaccine.
He said the models are showing that Houston could have a four-fold increase in the number of daily cases by July 4.
“That is really worrisome and as those numbers rise, seeing commensurate increases in the number of hospitalizations and ICU admissions and you worry, you get to the point where you overwhelm ICUs and respond when mortality goes up,” he said.
Houston does have hospital bed capacity now, but Hotez said he is concerned about the future. “We have more room, but who wants to go there?”
Something is needed to stop the community transmission, he said.
On Thursday, Texas announced 5,551 new Covid-19 cases – the state’s highest single-day rise. Florida and California also reported their biggest single-day increase in cases.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott warned residents Tuesday that because the spread of the coronavirus novel is so rampant right now the safest place for citizens to be is at home. He did not issue an official order to stay home.
Reopening could have contributed: Hotez said the state was aggressive with social distancing at the start of the pandemic, which kept the number of cases down, but the state reopened at the end of April and right after Memorial Day the number of cases began to rise. Hotez said the state did not put a “sufficient level” of public health infrastructure in place.