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Doctors think the Houston area is getting close to the peak of this COVID wave

Doctors say new daily cases of COVID-19 are 50 times higher than they were in early December.

HOUSTON — Houston doctors say 50 times as many people are now testing positive for COVID each day compared to two weeks ago.

They say that although the Houston area has not hit the halfway mark for the current COVID surge, it is close.

“I hope that we’re sort of nearing the peak of COVID,” said Dr. James McDeavitt with Baylor College of Medicine. “We’re still probably a week and a half to two weeks away from seeing the peak reach the hospitals as people get sick enough to go to the hospital. And then it’s going to take some time, just like you don’t breathe a sigh of relief when you get to the eye of the hurricane, you have to get through the other half of the hurricane.”

In early December, approximately 36 out of every 100,000 Houston-area residents tested positive for COVID. McDeavitt said on Tuesday, that number was 1,800.

“So, to put that into perspective, as you’re sitting in a restaurant or a coffee shop down the street, the guy to your left, the guy to your right, is 50 times more likely to have active COVID-19 today than they were in early December,” McDeavitt said.

Hospitalizations increasing

McDeavitt said hospitalizations across the Texas Medical Center are up to about 500 admissions per day.

“That’s close to 10 times what we were seeing six weeks ago,” McDeavott said.

He said about 70% of those admissions are for COVID.

The rest are patients admitted for other reasons who happened to test positive at the hospital.

“We’ve definitely got a couple of tough weeks ahead of us still,” Dr. Michelle Udayamurthy said.

Although the omicron variant has been found to be less severe, Udayamurthy said that isn’t true for everyone.

“For people who have been maybe six months out of their booster, since their last shot, or haven’t gotten a booster, or those who haven’t gotten vaccinated, we’re still seeing somewhat of a severe infection,” Udayamurthy said.

Both doctors are hopeful that after the current wave passes through, it will open us up for a healthier spring.

But they said there’s no way to predict when the next wave could come, or what it might bring.

“There’s no definitive way to tell the next variant, whatever that may be, it could in fact be more severe to us.” Udayamurthy said.

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