The US city of Houston could be the hardest hit nationwide if the current trajectory in Covid-19 cases continues as it has, a health expert 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.
“Large metropolitan areas appear to be increasing very rapidly and some of the models are about to be 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 possible Covid-19 vaccine.
He said the models show that Houston could have a four-fold increase in the number of daily cases by July 4.
“That is really concerning and as those numbers increase, we are seeing proportional increases in the number of ICU admissions and hospitalizations and you worry, you get to the point of overwhelming ICUs and that’s when mortality increases,” he said.
Houston has capacity for hospital beds now, but Hotez said he is concerned about the future. “We have more space, but who wants to go there?”
Something is needed to stop community broadcasting, he said.
On Thursday, Texas announced 5,551 new Covid-19 cases, the largest single-day increase in the state. Florida and California also reported their largest increase in cases in a single day.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned residents Tuesday that because the spread of the new coronavirus is so rampant right now, the safest place for citizens is at home. He did not issue an official order to stay home.
The 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 low, but the state reopened in late April and just after Memorial Day the number of cases began to increase. Hotez said the state did not establish a “sufficient level” of public health infrastructure.