Houston Mayor and Experts Call for Caution When Business Reopens

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According to Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease expert, people “are loosing social distance much more than we thought” and warns of a second wave of COVID-19.

HOUSTON – As Texas completes its first full weekend of partial reopening, Houston mayor Sylvester Turner calls for caution.

“Don’t act like this virus is gone,” said Turner. “The virus has not left our city. “

This weekend, large crowds gathered on the beaches of Galveston. People were impatient to go out.

“I am concerned about Houston, Harris County and the state of Texas,” said infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez.

RELATED: Map: Tracking Houston Area Coronavirus Cases

RELATED: Coronavirus Updates: Mayor of Houston Urges Residents Not To “Act Like The Virus Has Left”

Hotez said that is exactly what the experts did not want to see.

“My concern is that what’s going on in Galveston is happening all over southeast Texas,” said Hotez. “People are loosing social distance much more than we thought given the limited opening of the economy. “

The models suggest that social distancing should have stayed in place until June in Texas. But when the state reopened this weekend, cities like Houston and Dallas continued to see more cases and more deaths.

“It’s too late,” said Hotez. “We are already opening up the economy. The question now is how to fix things? “

Locally, Harris County is taking action to protect the public with its three-pronged “Test, Trace and Treat” plan. Testing capacity continues to increase and the county will recruit 300 contact tracers.

“I am a little concerned that its magnitude is not enough,” said Hotez. “For the size of Houston, you’re probably looking for a need of several thousand, not several hundred. “

A spokesperson for the county judge, Lina Hidalgo, told KHOU 11,300 tracers is a “floor and not a ceiling” and the 300 complete a “solid team of epidemiologists” already working for the county.

The county will also count on some of the 4,000 contact tracers that are part of Governor Greg Abbott’s plan. We still don’t know if that will be enough, especially since the Texans are starting to get out even more. And if this weekend was any indication of what was to come, Hotez said that the second wave COVID-19 could only be a matter of time.

“The risk is of course that we can see a resurgence of COVID-19 in a big way,” said Hotez. “It won’t happen right away, but could happen this summer or fall. “

Coronavirus symptoms

Coronavirus symptoms may be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also experience nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach problems. Losing your sense of taste and / or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed that 80% of the cases were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Seniors with underlying health conditions are most at risk of becoming seriously ill. However, American experts see a significant number of young people hospitalized, some of whom are in intensive care.

The CDC believes that symptoms can appear two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses generally spread by …

  • Air coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touch an object or surface with the virus on it, then touch your mouth, nose, or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a handkerchief, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow the social distancing

Reduce your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or older and have an underlying health problem such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or respiratory diseases such as asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization recommends that you try to avoid crowds or places where you could interact with sick people.

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