Coronavirus cases are spiking all across Texas, including a record number of new cases in Houston. A Houston health expert is predicting that it will become the "worst affected" city in the country. "We could be in a world of hurt" if people don't wear face masks or abide by social distancing guidelines, a Houston health official said. View more episodes of Business Insider Today on Facebook.
Houston could soon become the city worst hit by the coronavirus in the United States, one state health official is warning. Harris County reported more than 1,400 new cases on Wednesday, the highest total yet since cases began spiking in mid-June. Statewide, more than 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus were reported on Wednesday, also a new high. Health experts in the state are offering grim warnings that the worst may be yet to come. "I believe if the numbers continue to rise at this pace, Houston is on track to become the worst affected city in the US," said Peter Hotez, dean of Baylor College of Medicine's School of Tropical Medicine. Intensive care units in the city are nearing their maximum capacity, and hospitals are getting surge plans in place for an expected overflow of patients in the coming weeks. "If the community doesn't start behaving differently, there's going to be a limit to what the hospitals will handle," Houston's public health authority David Persse said. "It's not today. That's three weeks from now." Overall the US has seen more than 2.7 million cases and 128,000 deaths since January — more than any other country in the world. Texas was one of the first states to start reopening after a brief lockdown during the pandemic. Shops, restaurants, and movie theaters in the state have been open since May 1. Now, Gov. Greg Abbott is shutting down bars and restricting restaurant services in an effort to slow the uptick. At least 19 states are walking back reopening plans as they see similar surges in case numbers. But Persse cautioned that if Houston residents don't change their behavior, the city's numbers will continue trending in the wrong direction. "If they hear the message, and if they start wearing the mask and social distancing, we should be able to get through this," Persse said. "If they ignore the message, if they think it's political, they think it's fake news, if they come up with some excuse not to wear the mask and physically distance themselves, we could be in a world of hurt."SEE ALSO: The pandemic isn't slowing down protests in NYC, Lebanon, and Hong Kong — here's how people are balancing protests with coronavirus safety Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: How the Navy's largest hospital ship can help with the coronavirus
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The escalating crisis in Texas shows how the chronic underfunding of public health has put America...The escalating crisis in Texas shows how the chronic underfunding of public health has put America on track for the worst coronavirus response in the developed world.
The state recorded 15,300 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, easily passing the previous one-day high of...The state recorded 15,300 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, easily passing the previous one-day high of 12,274 set at the height of the outbreak in New York in April.
US daily coronavirus cases have hit record highs 5 times in the last 12 days — this interactive chart tracks new cases each day
The US has broken records for daily coronavirus case counts five times in the last 12...The US has broken records for daily coronavirus case counts five times in the last 12 days. Deaths have not surged, however, possibly because the virus is mostly spreading among young people. COVID-19 progresses over weeks, though, so death tolls may still start climbing. Although various databases offer differing daily US case counts, they tell the same story overall: Cases skyrocketed after states reopened. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. In April, it would have been hard to imagine that 36,000 new coronavirus infections in a day — the top of the US's first peak — could ever be seen in a positive light. But after the last two weeks, such a sum would be a relief — it would represent a significant drop from where we are now. After daily case counts began to creep up again in mid-June, new infections reached a record high on June 25, when more than 39,000 cases were reported. The next day, the country exceeded 45,000 cases, breaking the prior record. Then it happened again, and again. In the last 12 days, the US has set a new record on five occasions. The latest peak was 54,461 new cases on July 2, according to a Johns Hopkins University database. The seven-day rolling average of daily case counts, of course, has grown, too. The chart below shows how it has changed over time, along with the seven-day rolling average for deaths. The primary reason for this spike is exactly what public-health experts warned of a couple months ago. When states started reopening businesses and lifting shelter-in-place orders in late April and early May, many did not meet the White House criteria for doing so safely. The guidelines instructed states to see either a two-week decline in cases or a two-week decline in the share of coronavirus tests coming back positive before they reopened. But 21 states started reopening around May 7 without seeing those trends, according to the New York Times. As of Tuesday, daily case counts are rising in at least 39 states. In the last couple of weeks, many governors and mayors began pausing or backtracking those reopenings. Daily death counts are not surging, however Deaths have not spiked nationwide alongside cases. This may be because the virus is mostly spreading among young people, who have gone out to bars and social events amid the reopenings. Those in younger age groups are less likely to die from a coronavirus infection. However, it takes time to die from the coronavirus, so death tolls tend to lag behind case counts by three to four weeks. That means deaths may still begin to rise across the country. In places like Texas and Arizona, that has already begun. A precursor to deaths — hospitalizations — is currently on the rise in many states with the worst surges. Alabama, California, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas all reported record-breaking hospitalization rates this week, according to The Washington Post. COVID-19 databases tell slightly different versions of the same story Different organizations use their own methods to track coronavirus cases across the US, which yield different results. Data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that there have been four record-setting days since June 25 (not five) though a higher record of daily cases: 57,718 new cases on July 3. The New York Times' tracker places the record high at 56,567 cases on July 3. The COVID Tracking Project, meanwhile, reported a record 57,562 new cases that same day. The CDC recorded a much higher, earlier spring peak than the other databases, logging 43,438 new cases on April 6. Johns Hopkins recorded a spring peak of 36,291 new cases on April 24. This discrepancy could come from different case-tracking methods. Johns Hopkins and other databases update their numbers in real time, as states and counties publish new data. The CDC, however, counts new cases on the date that states submit them to the agency. Its website recommends deferring to local health departments if there is a mismatch between their data and the CDC's, since it "may be due to the timing of the reporting and website updates." Still, all these databases show cases rising rapidly in Texas, Arizona, Florida, and many other states. The overarching trend in the numbers is the same, even if the specifics differ. "I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 [cases] a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned," Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate on June 30, adding, "it could get very bad." Emergency rooms and intensive-care units across the US are already showing signs of strain. The mayors of Houston and Austin have warned they have just two weeks until their hospitals start hitting capacity. In Florida, Miami-Dade county hospitals could max out by August, according to local news site WPLG. To prevent further spread, Fauci has recommended mandating face masks and keeping indoor bars closed. He has also emphasized that young, healthy people should continue taking precautions, since they could still fall seriously ill or spread the virus to more vulnerable people. "We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this," Fauci said on Monday. "We went up, never came down to baseline, and now it's surging back up. So it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Here's what happens after you call 911 for the coronavirus