Texas Turns It Around After a Spike in Coronavirus Cases: Deaths, Hospitalizations, Cases on Downward Trend

SANTA FE, TX - MAY 18: Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds hands with family and friends at a vigil held at the First Bank in Santa Fe for the victims of a shooting incident at Santa Fe High School where a shooter killed at least 10 students on May 18, …
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Texas had seen a steady decline in the seven-day average of new Chinese coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and test positivity rates as of Thursday afternoon, a couple of weeks after a spike in new daily cases reached its peak, marking the highest single-day figure, and the state set a new record for deaths.

The drop in the seven-day average came after Gov. Greg Abbott (R) allowed the state’s stay-at-home order to expire on April 30, and non-essential businesses began a phased reopening the following day.

To justify decisions to allow non-essential businesses to reopen, U.S. state officials have been looking at the seven-day average of cases, deaths, hospitalizations, and test positivity rates to account for daily swings in the raw figures.

Most of the United States, including Texas, issued statewide lockdown measures, commonly known as stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders, to stem the spread of the highly contagious and deadly COVID-19 disease produced by the coronavirus.

Soon after Gov. Abbott lifted Texas’s stay-at-home order, the state experienced an increase in the sheer number of new cases and deaths reported each day.

On May 14, Texas recorded its second-deadliest day (51) since the first COVID-19 fatality in the state on March 16, data from the state’s health department showed. The following day, Texas documented the highest single-day tally of new cases (1,818) since it recorded its first case on March 4.

In the weeks that followed, however, the seven-day average of new cases and deaths has been steadily going down, the state data revealed, echoing assessments by mainstream media outlets. The seven-day average number of hospitalizations and test positivity rates have also seen a steady, but modest decrease.

Analysts consider the number of hospitalizations to be an essential measure of the severity of the ongoing outbreak.

According to data from the Texas Department of Health, about 70 percent of Texas’s hospital beds were occupied as of Thursday afternoon, with 15,315 regular and 1,592 intensive care unit (ICU) beds still available. Currently, there are 1,692 lab-confirmed COVID-19 patients at Texas hospitals, occupying only about three percent of the available beds.

The national average of coronavirus cases per one million U.S. residents, at 5,323, is more than double the 2,045 per one million in Texas, according to Worldometer.

Furthermore, the 55 deaths per one million Texans are about six times lower than the national average of 312 per one million.

The raw number of new daily cases in Texas has seen a substantial increase in the last few days, more than doubling from 440 on May 25 to 1,361 yesterday, state data showed. That change could push the seven-day average number of new cases up going forward if the amount reported daily keeps increasing.

However, the sheer number of new daily deaths has remained relatively low in recent days. Meanwhile, the raw number of hospitalizations reported each day had also seen a modest decline.

Gov. Abbott’s office has attributed the rise in new daily cases to a substantial increase in the states’ testing capabilities, as shown by data compiled by the Texas Tribune.

More tests have allowed the state to detect more cases.

“Gov. Greg Abbott is looking at two specific metrics to justify his decision to restart the Texas economy — the positive test rate and hospitalization levels,” the Texas Tribune noted.

As of Thursday afternoon, about seven percent (57,921) of the total 855,674 tests administered by health officials in Texas had come out positive, marking a decrease from the estimated eight percent two weeks ago, on May 13, the COVID Tracking Project revealed.

According to the White House reopening guidelines, a state can reopen if it reports a downward trajectory of the positive test rate over 14 days, even if the daily case count is on the rise.

Texas has seen a gradual decline in the percentage of tests coming back positive. More people continue to test negative than positive.

The cumulative number of cases and deaths continue to increase in the Lone Star state.

As of Thursday afternoon, over 57,900 people in Texas had tested positive for COVID-19, and over 1,500 had succumbed to it.

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