Social distancing saving thousands of lives in Houston area, report suggests

Passengers are practicing social distancing while riding a bus to their destinations. (HOUSTON METRO, HOUSTON METRO)

HOUSTON – A new report suggests staying at home is working to prevent coronavirus deaths and hospitalizations in Houston.

Data based on epidemiologists’ COVID-19 models and released by the Kinder Institute at Rice University show the efforts to promote social distancing are helping us all.

The report notes the following findings:

  • The estimates show that social distancing measures during the 14-day period between March 24 and April 6 have saved the lives of 4,533 Houstonians and kept 48,812 people from being hospitalized locally.
  • If we continue on this path, by April 22, we could save 13,220 lives.
  • If the stay-at-home order is effective for 60 days, together we could save more than 22,000 lives.
  • "While it’s important to note the model isn’t meant to be a crystal-ball prediction of the exact numbers, the general pattern will hold true.”

See an informative infographic here.

“We hope this information will help Houstonians better understand the impact of our collective effort and how important it is to have the stay-at-home order in place,” the report continues. “However, we acknowledge that many of our fellow Houstonians don’t have the privilege of working from home. Many have to work on-site, including first responders and health care workers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers and those employed by essential businesses. Some may not have a shelter at all that can effectively protect them from exposure to the new coronavirus. And others may have a home that is unsafe because of family violence or inadequate housing conditions. Additionally, we recognize that staying home isn’t a panacea for this crisis. It is critical to take immediate steps to increase the capacity to test people for COVID-19 and quarantine those who are infected. What’s more, the region needs to work together to address the economic impact and hardship suffered by families and businesses during the pandemic. ... So, for now, stay home if you can, and trust that you’re having a real, positive impact by doing so.”

About the Author:

Amanda Cochran is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning journalist. She specializes in Texas features, consumer and business news and local crime coverage.