x
Breaking News
More () »

Southeast Texas's Leading Local News: Weather, Traffic, Sports and more | Southeast Texas, Texas | 12NEWSNOW.com

Texas sets COVID-19 hospitalization record 3 days into 2021

As hospitalizations climb, vaccine expert Dr. Peter Hotez says Houston and Harris County need to aim to vaccinate 10,000 people per day to get things back to normal.

HOUSTON — It may be a new year, but the same virus is continuing to spread across the country.

"It's the perfect storm for seeing a rise in COVID," Dr. Peter Hotez said.

The impact of Christmas and New Year's Eve on an already existing surge still not known. But Hotez said there's so much transmission now, it can only get worse.

"As bad as things were in July, I think we'll eclipse all those numbers in the coming weeks, this is the worst part of our epidemic," Hotez said.

The numbers reported Sunday are already bad. Texas reported more than 14,500 new cases and 50 more deaths.

"The numbers are going up. Everything is trending in the wrong direction," Hotez said. "New cases, hospitalizations and the positivity rate."

Hospitalizations are the real red flag. Texas broke another record with an all-time high of 12,563 people in hospitals with COVID. In Harris County, 23.7% of all hospital patients are battling coronavirus.

Gov. Greg Abbott's order calls for shutting down bars and rolling back capacity levels at restaurants if COVID-19 hospitalizations stay above 15% for seven consecutive days. The Houston region has been above that threshold for five straight days.

"I'm anticipating we'll reach that trigger point to have to close certain businesses," Hotez said.

Hotez said officials need to focus on ramping up vaccinations as quickly as possible. He said our area needs to be vaccinating 10,000 people per day if we want to get back to normal.

"Whether or not we can interrupt virus transmission and restore our city or county to something that resembles normal depends on how quickly we can vaccinate our population," Hotez said.

He's calling for vaccination hubs and centers across the city to help handle this unprecedented vaccine rollout.