ARLINGTON, Texas — As Texans gather to celebrate the July 4th weekend, health experts, and now the governor, are warning people not to let their guard down like they apparently did on Memorial Day. Otherwise, they say, the COVID-19 problem in the state could be exponentially worse than it is now.
"Extremely concerned obviously. We're having record numbers of cases every day," said Dr. Philip Huang at Dallas County Health and Human Services.
"It just seems like people are not comprehending the magnitude of the problem," said Governor Greg Abbott in a Friday afternoon interview.
They both have the came concern.
Back on Memorial Day, when the curve appeared to be flattening, Texas reported just 589 new coronavirus cases in the entire state that day and a test positivity rate of 5.15%.
On Friday, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported 7,555 new cases in a single day and a positivity rate of 13.92%.
"These gatherings that took place during the Memorial Day holiday, did lead to the spread of COVID-19," said Abbott.
"If July 4th weekend is like Memorial Day, it would really be essentially catastrophic," added Huang, who said people began to let their guards down at the May 25 mark. Since then, the COVID case numbers have been on a steady increase.
In Arlington Friday night, with thousands gathered in the parking lots around Globe Life Park to watch the fireworks display, many heeded the advice of experts and watched the display from the safety of their own vehicles. But many did not, most were not wearing masks and gathered in large groups of family and friends to watch the show.
As the weekend progresses, medical experts and the governor warn against making the same Memorial Day mistakes.
"This is a key point in time for us," said Huang. "We really cannot have July 4th be the same as Memorial Day weekend was for us."
"It is going to lead to a massive increase in the number of people testing positive," Abbott warned if people don't heed the advice to social-distance and wear face coverings in public settings. "And it could lead to an increase in the number of people who lose their lives."
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