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'Got to do something now': Expert pleads with public to take COVID-19 seriously to stop dangerous spike in cases

Harris County and the City of Houston reported 1,125 new cases Sunday. It's the second time the area's reached 1,000 daily cases in the last 4 days.

HOUSTON — COVID-19 is spreading everywhere and Harris County is trending in the wrong direction at the worst possible time.

"The number of new cases is going up, the hospitalization numbers are going up, and the positivity rate is going up, said infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez.

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The city of Houston and Harris County reported a combined 1,125 new COVID-19 cases Sunday. It's the second time the area's hit 1,000+ daily cases in the last four days. We haven't seen numbers like that since August.

"My hope is Houston will not be hit as badly as the northern part of our state, or El Paso, but I can't say that with confidence," Hotez said.

The public's COVID-19 fatigue and disregard for masking and social distancing are driving the spread.

"There's no upper bound, this will keep on accelerating," Hotez said.

The latest projections suggest Texas could see 17,000 more deaths by the end of February. Hotez said it's all preventable.

"These are Americans that don't have to die," Hotez said. "There's no reason for them to lose their lives now just by being careless about social distancing or wearing masks. Just hang on for a few more months."

The positivity rate in Texas is now 12.38% and climbing. It's the highest since August.

With Thanksgiving less than two weeks away, experts are pleading with people to stay apart and avoid indoor gatherings with folks not in your own household. Not doing so could mean the difference between life and death.

"We've got to do something now," Hotez said. "Now is crunch time."