Some states have extended their social distancing orders while waiting to see how the spread of the coronavirus pandemic plays out. Texas was one of several others that has been bullish on reopening, and since reopening, the number of confirmed cases in the state has risen.
Specifically, the state now has 45,198 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. That’s an increase of 1,347 cases from Thursday to Friday. By comparison, last week, the daily increase in cases between Thursday and Friday was 1,219.
The number of new cases to have been confirmed between Friday and Saturday is not available, as of this writing.
By comparison, New York, which has been the epicenter of the virus in the U.S. for several weeks, has had 345,000 confirmed cases.
In terms of deaths from the illness, Texas recorded 58 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday and 56 on Friday. Last Friday, the state only saw 31 deaths on that day.
In total, Texas has had 1,272 coronavirus-related fatalities.
As for hospitalizations, ABC News notes that the data is difficult to accurately interpret, due to the fact that hospital admission numbers are reported two weeks after the fact. As of two weeks ago, 1,716 people are currently hospitalized in Texas due to the coronavirus.
John Wittman, the communications director for Gov. Greg Abbott, says that the increase in cases is almost certainly due to an increase in testing.
“Since [COVID-19 testing] started, we did 330,000 tests in March and April. Since May 1, we have done over 330,000 — so in 16 days we have doubled our testing from the previous entire two months,” he said.
He also notes that hospitalization rates in the Lone Star State have been “steady,” and that Texas has “one of the lowest death rates per capita in the nation [from COVID-19].”
Texas has reopened in phases. Currently, restaurants, shopping centers, and movie theaters are allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity. Retail stores, libraries, and museums can operate at full capacity. This coming Monday, May 18, gyms will be allowed to reopen.
The answer to the question of whether or not Texas reopened too soon will be known later. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease specialist, has warned that there could be “really serious” consequences to reopening the country too soon, stating that localized spikes in cases here and there could develop into full-fledged outbreaks, as Live Science reports.