As COVID-19 continues to peak in states across the country—click here to see the 23 states that have an alarming rise in coronavirus cases—one city is quickly emerging as the next potential hot spot. And, according to one world-renowned infectious disease expert, it could be one of the biggest COVID-19 warzones in the world.
“If we continue on the same trajectory, my worry is Houston could become the worst affected city right now in North America,” infectious disease expert Peter Hotez, MD, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, told CNN affiliate KPRC-2. He is worried that Houston and its encompassing Harris County will soon reign as the coronavirus capital of the country.
The “Worst Affected City”
He also tweeted about his prediction over the weekend. “Latest #COVID19 for Harris County, my observation if this trajectory persists:
- Houston would become the worst affected city in the US, maybe rival what we’re seeing now in Brazil
- The masks = good 1st step but simply won’t be enough
- We would need to proceed to red alert,” he wrote.
During a press conference on Monday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner reported an additional 1,789 coronavirus cases in Houston, bringing the city’s total to 14,322. Additionally, Houston police spokesperson Officer Kese Smith also told CNN that at least 103 Houston police officers are currently quarantined with COVID-19. The Houston Health Department also warned that Harris County hospitals have seen a 177% increase in COVID-19 positive patients and a 64% increase in COVID positive patients in ICU beds since May 31. “WE MUST ACT NOW. Wear a mask, social distance & wash hands,” they instructed in a tweet.
“All of the good work we did collectively in March, April and May—closing down conferences and conventions—we are now engaged in activities that are wiping the success we achieved,” Turner said during the press conference.
Mandate to Wear Your Mask
Governmental officials hope that a new mandated mask order, in effect from June 22-28, will help flatten the curve in Houston. “At the very minimum we are asking people to put on their masks or face coverings,” Turner said.
“I don’t want the city of Houston to end up in a shutdown mode, because our hospitals are being overwhelmed and people are dying,” Turner said. “And that’s what people are seeing all over all over the country. That’s not what we want in the city of Houston.” As for yourself: wear your mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands frequently, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these Things You Should Never Do During the Coronavirus Pandemic.