A week after Gov. Greg Abbott kicked off his latest phase of reopening the Texas economy by allowing all businesses to open, state data shows the COVID-19 pandemic continues to worsen across most indicators.
On Monday, the state reported 1,935 Texans were being treated for coronavirus in Texas hospitals, the highest number yet that breaks the record set back in May.
Hospital space remains ample in major metro areas where the pandemic is most concentrated. For example, the Houston area still has 2,573 beds remaining with 622 patients currently being treated; the Dallas-Forth Worth area has 3,314 hospital beds remaining with 660 patients being treated.
Nevertheless, the steadily growing number of hospitalizations is just one sign the coronavirus curve is not being flattened — something Abbott himself predicted in leaked audio of phonecall with lawmakers several weeks ago.
Number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, Texas Department of State Health Services
Likewise, Texas reported 1,940 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday — the second-highest single-day total since the outbreak began in March.
At the beginning of the month, 1,949 new cases were reported, the current record.
The 7-day moving average of confirmed cases continues to grow and has not seen a consistent decline since the end of May when Abbott allowed the state’s stay-at-home to expire.
Daily new confirmed cases in Texas, DSHS
The spike in cases comes as daily new tests for the virus have begun to plateau or stabilize, suggesting the rising number of coronavirus cases is not a result of an increase in testing as Republicans had theorized in recent weeks.
Daily new tests, DSHS
The state’s infection rate or the percentage of tests that come back positive (one of Abbott’s favorite indicators) is also showing signs of trouble. It has not fallen below 6 percent — the state’s threshold for manageable growth — since the start of this month.
Percentage of positive COVID-19 tests, DSHS
In terms of projections, a majority if not all of the 19 individual state forecasts (received and compiled by the CDC from places like Los Alamos National Laboratory, Johns Hopkins, and the University of Texas) show that the coronavirus curve is unlikely to be flattened in the coming weeks.
Statistical or mathematical models for cumulative predicted deaths in Texas, CDC
Last week, Abbott allowed for all Texan business to open at 50 percent capacity. On June 12, Abbott will allow restaurants to increase capacities to 75 percent. You can read the latest details about Texas’ third phase reopening on the governor’s website.
Photo: Dan Tian/Xinhua via Getty Images
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org