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Peak of coronavirus outbreak in Texas expected about May 2

Medical personnel wearing protective gear hold a COVID-19 test taken as part of the government's measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the orthodox city of Bnei Brak, a Tel Aviv suburb. in Israel, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Medical personnel wearing protective gear hold a COVID-19 test taken as part of the government's measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the orthodox city of Bnei Brak, a Tel Aviv suburb. in Israel, Tuesday, March 31, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Leaders on Tuesday extended the stay-home-work-safe order for Harris County and Houston until the end of April. Just a few days later is when experts predict the peak of the coronavirus outbreak will happen in Texas.

Dr. Paul Klotman, of the Baylor College of Medicine, said during Tuesday’s announcement that the worst point in the COVID-19 outbreak in Texas is about four weeks away, but that came with a caveat – strict social distancing must be maintained.

“If we don’t, and we track along New York City’s infection rate or Italy’s infection rate, not only do we exceed our peak of being able to take care of people, but we push the peak out about another four weeks,” Klotman said. “So rather than being at home for four weeks, it’s more like eight weeks.”

That prediction was echoed by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner at a news conference Wednesday, where he said Dr. Peter Hotez, of the Baylor College of Medicine, informed him that the peak is expected to happen in Texas on May 2.

“Then the question is, you know, assuming that’s correct and if we all engage in social distancing, how long will we be in it?” Turner said.

The mayor also reiterated Klotman’s warning – social distancing and good hygiene must be observed.

“I know people are making a huge sacrifice, but I want you to know that what we are doing with the stay-home-work-safe, social distancing, washing your hands, using sanitizer, spacing yourself out, those practices are working,” Turner said. “When you look at the other cities, and where we are today, we have taken significant steps to flatten the curve, and that’s the goal.”

There has been a steady rise in the number of reported cases of coronavirus in the past week, with the two biggest day-to-day increases happening in the past few days. That is not unexpected as testing for the virus has also been steadily increasing.

More of our coronavirus coverage

FIND ALL OF OUR COVERAGE: See everything you need to know about coronavirus on our special page.

LOCAL CASES: See all the latest local coronavirus updates in our blog

TOTAL CASES: Keep track as new coronavirus cases are reported in counties in the Houston area

TEXAS: Here’s everything you need to know about the coronavirus in Texas

MAPPED: See a Johns Hopkins interactive map that shows how coronavirus has spread through the world

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HOW TO HELP: How to help Houstonians in need during the coronavirus outbreak

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