You’ve likely heard that there has been an increase in cases of COVID-19 in Texas. That’s not accurate. There has been an increase in positive tests. Because there is no attempt to differentiate true from false positive tests, one cannot be sure that the infection rate has really increased.
What can be done, is to see if the hospitalization rate has increased. Also, the number of beds occupied by “COVID-19 patients” can be counted, as can the utilization of ICU beds. The CDC publishes these data every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday at noon ET.
Today the Center reported that 68.9% of beds in the state were occupied compared to 65.6% yesterday. Of these 15.9% were used by patients diagnosed with the virus compared to 15.8% the previous day. The ICU numbers were 70.3% and 67.6% respectively.
While attack rates may be different among the cities, the overall impact on the Texas hospital system – at least for now – is not at an alarming number. Medicine (like art) is long while life is short, but so far the uptick in reported cases has not overtaxed the state’s hospitals. The most likely explanation, if we exclude a surge in false positive tests, is that the vulnerable have been shielded from the infection such that new cases occur mainly in the young and healthy who are not at great risk for serious manifestations of the disease.