Texas Governor says coronavirus ‘spreading at an unacceptable rate’ as people under 50 increasingly become hospitalized
Andrew Kerr on June 23, 2020
Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday that the novel coronavirus is spreading at an alarming rate in his state as new cases and hospitalizations reached new highs for a second straight week.
“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas, and it must be corralled,” Abbott said during a press conference Monday.
Hospitalizations for novel coronavirus patients have doubled in Texas since the end of May, and data from the Dallas-Fort Worth area shows that people under 50 comprise 50% of patients hospitalized due to the virus and 30% of those in critical care, according to the Texas Tribune.
In contrast, 82% of patients hospitalized in New York City in March were over the age of 45, according to former Food and Drug Administrator Scott Gottlieb.
“These numbers, as you can see, in the last two weeks are trending upwards alarmingly, and they’ve been the highest numbers that we’ve ever seen in the [Dallas-Fort Worth] area,” UT Southwestern assistant professor of internal medicine and cardiology professor Dr. Mujeeb Basit told the Tribune, citing figures showing that coronavirus hospitalizations in the area have increased by 24% over the past week.
“We’re still relatively low [percentage] in terms of hospital capacity, we’re the highest that we’ve ever been, but the percentage wise is all still relatively low. It’s around about 10 to 15%. But with the doubling rate, that’s only about three weeks of capacity if you really think about it,” Basit said.
Abbott said Monday that shutting down businesses again in the state to curb the spread of the virus is an option that’s still on the table, but something he will only consider as a last resort.
“The way hospitalizations are spiking, the way that daily new cases are spiking — surely the public can understand that if those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary to make sure we maintain the health and safety of the people of the state of Texas,” Abbott said.
The governor urged Texans to wear face masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open, because not taking action to slow the spread will cause COVID to spread even worse, risking people’s lives and ultimately leading to the closure of more businesses,” he said.
Younger people making up an increasing share of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Texas follows a nationwide trend of younger people accounting for larger shares of new infects, according to Axios.
However, daily deaths have still dropped from its peak in mid-April.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said it’s “not surprising” that younger people are making up a larger share of positive coronavirus cases, noting that they’re more likely to engage in risky activities.
“They get infected first, then they come home, and then they infect the older people. The older people get the complications, and then they go to the hospitals,” Fauci said.
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