Texas braces for surge in COVID-19 deaths after weeks of rising cases

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Texas saw two record-breaking figures in the battle against COVID-19 on Tuesday; 10,000 new cases and 60 fatalities in a single day.

Confirmed cases in Texas have already been mounting for weeks; the total number of confirmed cases in the state has doubled from 100,000 to 200,000 in only 17 days — and even though the number of daily tests being conducted has increased during that time—boosting the total number of cases—the share of those tests coming back positive (known as the state’s infection rate) has skyrocketed too, pointing to genuine growth in the pandemic.

Deaths from the virus have so far remained varied and relatively low, an expected result of fatalities typically lagging a few weeks behind new cases, but Tuesday’s record-breaking daily total is the latest evidence of steady growth in new deaths from the virus, as indicated by the moving average in the chart below:

Texas saw an average of 42 deaths in the last seven days. The week before the average stood at 29. Elderly Texans have seen the highest number of fatalities, with about 40 percent of all deaths being reported in Texans that are 80 years of age or older. Only six percent of fatalities have occurred in Texans under the age of 49. So far, 689 Texans have died from the virus.

That being said, the virus does not only pose a danger to elderly Texans or those with health complications, especially as hospital capacity continues to be stressed by the rising number of cases.

The growing number of cases and deaths from the virus prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to issue a statewide mask order last week. His own party continues to wave away concerns about the virus; despite pleas from Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and the Texas Medical Association, the Texas GOP is dead set on holding its annual convention in-person next week at Houston’s George R. Brown Convention Center.

Photo: Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images

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