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'COVID is definitely alive and well' | COVID infecting 1 in 4 people in Houston, doctor says

“We have to think that there’s much, much more COVID in the community than we think from the official numbers," said Dr. Ostrosky

HOUSTON, Texas — As everyone gets ready to celebrate the Fourth of July – doctors want you to keep your guard up.

COVID-19 is continuing to spread through Houston and Dr. Luis Ostrosky with UTHealth and Memorial Hermann says it's infecting one in every four people in the city.

It’s a new wave of COVID infecting a new wave of people.

"COVID is definitely alive and well in the community," said Dr. Ostrosky. "These are kind of the last few holdouts, people that have not had COVID in the last 2.5 years."

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Dr. Ostrosky said they’ve seen hospitalizations increase 30-40% over the past month.

“We’re having the exact amount of virus that we’ve had in the community all along without any sort of masking, without any social distancing, without any crowd control. So this is what happens when there’s no mitigation measures," he said. 

He says they’re seeing most of the same symptoms, like runny nose and sore throat, but some are more serious. 

“There may be a little bit more of a lower respiratory tract infection this time, like barrel pneumonia, is what we would see when it goes into the lungs," Dr. Ostrosky said. 

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And he said because at-home tests are so popular now, it’s hard to track the exact positivity rate.

“We have to think that there’s much, much more COVID in the community than we think from the official numbers," Dr. Ostrosky said. 

He said a good indicator is our wastewater, which Dr. Ostrosky said shows a 600% increase in COVID over July of 2020 with a positivity rate of 25%.

“That really means that about 1 in 4 people that you’re meeting with or having lunch with, or working with, is positive for COVID, so very high positivity rates in town currently," Dr. Ostrosky said. 

As for any holiday plans, he suggests that you keep them outside. 

“The more you can celebrate outside, the better," Dr. Ostrosky said. 

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