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'It's the same thing every damn day' | Dr. Hotez says Houston COVID-19 numbers are still too high

Dr. Peter Hotez warns about dangers of reopening schools with this level of transmission in community.

HOUSTON — As we begin a new work week, Houston is reporting more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for the fifth day in a row. The city also reported eight new deaths related to the virus.

"I certainly don't see progress," said infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez

Hotez says rising deaths in Houston are a concern. 

"It's the same thing every damn day," Hotez said. "It's Hispanic, Hispanic, Black, Black, Hispanic. I think it's historic decimation of the Hispanic/Latina community, not only in Houston, but across Texas."

The CDC is now projecting the U.S. will hit 173,000 deaths in just three weeks. Locally, new cases are plateauing at about 1,200 to 1,500 a day in Houston. Hotez says the number is too high.

"It doesn't end by magic," Hotez said. "It doesn't end unless we have human intervention."

It's why Mayor Sylvester Turner launched the Better Together campaign. It's an emergency outreach effort to make sure Houstonians have the knowledge and skills to protect their families from COVID-19. The goal is to drop Houston's positivity rate down to 5% by the end of August.

Hotez warns if new cases don't drastically come down, reopening schools would be a disaster.

"It won't be sustained," Hotez said. "We'll have to start shutting down schools again pretty quickly. Teachers will get sick and it will destabilize the whole system and things will get worse."

White House Coronavirus Task Force Coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx acknowledged Sunday it would be unsafe to open schools in communities with a positivity rate of 5% and high levels of virus transmission. Houston has been hovering above 20% for weeks. It's just another indication of how much more work there is to do.