On the same day that some good coronavirus news was made when the World Health Organization stated that COVID-19 transmission from asymptomatic people is "very rare," some bad coronavirus news was made when Texas announced they hit a one-day record for the number of hospitalizations attributed to the disease.
According to CNBC, 1,935 Texans are currently in hospital beds as a result of the virus. This tops the state's previous high of 1,888, which was recorded on May 5.
At the moment, 1,600 intensive-care beds remain open in the state, while 5,800 ventilators are on hand to aid those who fall critically ill. Officials in states throughout the U.S. are increasingly relying upon hospitalization figures in order to give them an accurate picture on how effectively they're combating the virus, since that data doesn't take days to compile.
While some increases in numbers can be attributed to a bump in testing, CNBC adds that the positivity rate for COVID-19 tests in Texas has steadily increased from 4.3 percent (at the end of May) to a current figure of 7.5 percent.
Texas had been one of the first states to ease back stay-at-home restrictions after they allowed the order telling their citizens to do just that to expire on April 30. A day later, some businesses were allowed to return to work with restrictions put into place, including limiting capacities and making sure customers do their best to stand six feet apart. In the weeks afterward more businesses were allowed to resume operations, including: beauty salons, offices, gyms, nonessential manufacturing plants, and (eventually) bars and restaurants. Note that restrictions regarding social distancing and limited capacities were also imposed for those.
Texas political reporter Jeremy Wallace made the following observations on Monday regarding the news:
Similarly, last week it was reported that the state of Florida had also seen an uptick in cases in recent days.
This past Thursday the Florida Department of Health said that they had had their biggest jump in cases since March (when they first start keeping track) as they reported 1,419 new confirmed sick.
At the moment the culprit for at least the Florida spike would appear to be Memorial Day weekend.
“The cases today represent what occurred about two weeks ago,” said Jill Roberts, who works at the University of South Florida College of Public Health, to POLITICO. “Memorial Day weekends is likely to blame for the increase in cases, both due to relaxation of social distancing measures and the holiday resulting in more people moving about.”
Notably, POLITICO adds that testing has gone up in Florida in recent weeks. For those interested in numbers, the positivity rate for these tests appears to be relatively in line with the Texas figures above (meaning within the four to seven percent range), as tests throughout the state have averaged about 26,000 daily. If you're looking for a positive silver lining in this news, that would be it. The Miami Herald reports that the overall positive percentage of COVID-19 tests has declined in the same period that cumulative positive tests have gone up.
Put simply, that means that there may have been more sick people over the past few months, it's just that they weren't able to test for confirmation.
As these numbers are likely linked to Memorial Day, they are not yet related to potential cases that could have been contracted through nationwide protests regarding the death of George Floyd.
Numbers chalked up to that particular run of simultaneous events will likely start to manifest within the next week or so.
At last count, the virus had infected nearly 2 million Americans, and had killed at least 112,500.