Saturday, August 8News That Matters

Coronavirus Updates: Texas Officials Warn COVID-19 Surge Could Overwhelm Hospitals in Two Weeks – The Weather Channel

  • Intensive care units in Austin could be inundated, the city’s mayor said.
  • The San Antonio area has seen a 55% rise in the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients.
  • More than 200,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Florida.

Texas officials warned Sunday that the spike in COVID-19 cases could overrun hospitals in two weeks if the situation doesn’t improve.

“If we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.”

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said on CNN’s “State of the Union,” “We are on a trajectory right now that we could be inundating out intensive care units here within the next week to 10 days.”

COVID-19 hospitalizations are growing at a faster rate in San Antonio than in other major Texas cities, the San Antonio News-Express reported.

For the last week, the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the San Antonio area rose by 55%, according to state health department data. The worst-case trajectory forecasts 2,400 hospitalizations around July 21 — more than twice the current patient volume.

“The die is cast probably for the next 11 days. Those folks are infected. They will be coming in,” Dr. Ian Thompson, CEO of Christus Santa Rosa Hospital-Medical Center, told the News-Express. “What you do today will determine what happens two weeks from now — whether you’re in the emergency room with no beds in the inn.”

Their warnings come as Texas has experienced a surge in new coronavirus infections since being one of the first states to lift stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses. The state added more than 45,000 cases in the last week alone.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed an executive order last week making masks mandatory in most counties, and he has paused reopening efforts.

As of Saturday, Texas had reported nearly 192,000 COVID-19 cases, according to the state health department.

Nationally, there have been 2.9 million cases recorded, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There have been 129,718 deaths in the U.S.

Worldwide, more than 11.3 million infections have been reported with more than 531,000 deaths.

Latest Developments

United States:

-More than 200,110 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Florida since the start of the outbreak, The Associated Press reported. State statistics released Sunday show an additional 10,000 confirmed cases. The highest number of confirmed cases in one day came Saturday when 11,458 cases were reported. More than 3,730 people have died in Florida.

-Republican National Committee spokesman Mike Reed told CNN the party is committed to holding the convention in Jacksonville, Florida, next month. “The RNC is committed to holding a safe convention that fully complies with local health regulations in place at the time. The event is still almost two months away, and we are planning to offer health precautions including but not limited to temperature checks, available PPE, aggressive sanitizing protocols, and available COVID-19 testing. We have a great working relationship with local leadership in Jacksonville and the state of Florida, and we will continue to coordinate with them in the months ahead.”

-The RNC statement about the convention came after Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told CNN it is “too early to tell” whether Florida will be a safe place for the Republican National Convention next month. “We’ll have to see how this unfolds in Florida and around the country,” Hahn said.

-During an Independence Day speech Saturday at the White House, President Donald Trump said the country had “learned how to put out the flame” of the coronavirus. “Our strategy is moving along well. It goes out in one area and rears back its ugly face in another area. But we have learned a lot.” He once again incorrectly asserted that increasing case numbers are because of more testing and “99% of (cases) are totally harmless.”

-When questioned Sunday about the president’s claim that most COVID-19 cases are harmless, Dr. Hahn, the FDA commissioner, repeatedly declined to defend the claim to CNN. “I’m not going to get into who’s right and who’s wrong,” Hahn said. “What I’ll say is that we have data in the White House Task Force. Those data show us that this is a serious problem. People need to take it seriously,” he said.

-At least 112 residents of fraternity houses at the University of Washington in Seattle have tested positive for COVID-19, according to an updated joint press release from the University of Washington and Public Health Seattle & King County. An additional nine UW students who tested positive were close contacts of the residents, but do not live in the houses.

Worldwide:

-Japan has recorded 20,234 cases of COVID-19 after adding 277 new cases Saturday, the Health Ministry said Sunday. The number of infections has been climbing steadily over the past week, Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Sunday. The ministry also said the total death toll for the country currently stands at 990.

-Regional authorities in Galicia in northwestern Spain ordered a five-day lockdown of A Mariña county with a population of 71,000 over fears of a coronavirus outbreak. The decision came a day after regional authorities in northeast Catalonia locked down an area with more than 200,000 inhabitants. Both lockdowns only allow people to leave the areas for work and other extenuating circumstances.

For the latest coronavirus information in your county and a full list of important resources to help you make the smartest decisions regarding the disease, check out our dedicated COVID-19 page.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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