Texas now leads the county in total coronavirus cases, this week reaching 1 million total cases since the start of the pandemic.
Jordan Rubio reported on the milestone with a team of reporters at the Houston Chronicle. He told Texas Standard that earlier in the pandemic, Texas’ cases were relatively low because of its shutdown in March. But experts have told him that Texas didn’t stay closed long enough, or act aggressively enough after the shutdown to mitigate the spread. That has led to another surge in cases.
“What they’re saying is that we didn’t stay locked down long enough, that the state reopened too fast,” Rubio said.
A Chronicle count indicates over 19,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Texas, making it second only to New York, which was the epicenter of the pandemic earlier in the spring.
But cases and deaths are hitting some cities harder than others, including El Paso. Rubio says about 15% of all hospitalizations right now in Texas are in that city.
“El Paso is currently where the bulk of the cases and the hospitalizations are happening,” he said. “There are something like 6,779 hospitalizations last I checked. More than 1,000 of them are in El Paso.”
Cases are also rising in Texas’ largest cities like Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area. But Rubio says so far it hasn’t pushed hospitals in those cities past capacity. He echoed the sentiment of Texas coronavirus expert Dr. Peter Hotez, and said: “Maybe the worst is yet to come.”