If Harris County continues same coronavirus track, Houston could be worst affected city in US, expert says

HOUSTON – If Harris County continues on the same new case trajectory as it is on at present, Houston could become the worst affected city in the U.S., according to nationally recognized infectious disease expert, Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine.

In a tweet Saturday morning, Hotez said if things continue as they are, Harris County could rival the situation that is currently being seen in Brazil.

“If we continue on the same trajectory, my worry is Houston could become the worst affected city right now in North America,” Hotez said in an interview with KPRC 2.

He also said while issuing a mask order is a “good 1st step,” he believes it “simply won’t be enough.” Friday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo signed an executive order mandating that businesses that offer goods and services were required to ensure that all employees and customers wear masks in their business. The order, that goes into effect Monday, will continue for 8 days until June 30 when the Texas disaster declaration ends.

Finally, his third prediction in his tweet was that the county “would need to proceed to red alert.” As of Sunday night, Harris County is listed at Orange Level 2 on the COVID-19 Threat Level System. This means there is a significant and uncontrolled spread of the virus in the county. To be upgraded to the Red Level 1 the spread of the virus would have to be classified as severe and uncontrolled.

Hotez also shared a graph titled “Seven-day rolling average of new cases for each county in the Houston region.” In the graph, a blue line shows the number of cases in Harris County that shows a stark climb in cases from April 26 through June 21. Other counties represented on the graph include Fort Bend, Montgomery, Galveston, Brazoria, Liberty, Chambers and Waller counties.

In a follow up tweet, Hotez said he couldn’t see how things could “get better on their own.”

“In such case we must take steps to protect Houston — even if it means defying the ‘health freedom’ antiscience crazies. I’m willing to take the heat — they don’t care for me much anyway from my staunch defense of #vaccines.”