By Terrance Turner
May 15, 2020
Today, the state of Texas reported 1,347 new cases of COVID-19. The Texas Tribune confirmed the news, adding that that Texas reported 56 new deaths. Yesterday, Texas reported 1,448 new cases of COVID-19. The state also reported 58 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday — the largest one-day increase since this pandemic began. Houston Chronicle reporter Jeremy Wallace delivered news of the grim milestone late yesterday afternoon:
The Texas Tribune confirmed: “Texas reported 1,448 more cases of the new coronavirus Thursday, an increase of about 3% over the previous day [May 13], bringing the total number of known cases to 43,851. The state has also reported 58 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 1,216 — an increase of about 5% from Wednesday. Both of these are largest daily increases the state has reported. But they also come as testing has increased across the state.”
It does appear that testing has increased. According to state data released by the COVID Tracking Project, the state is averaging 17,000 tests a day. (The COVID Tracking Project, launched by The Atlantic, publishes and collects the most complete testing data available for U.S states and territories. It compiles data on testing and hospitalizations.) Testing on Thursday (May 14) produced 35,853 new tests for Texans, according to the Project.
KERA News quoted Abbott on April 27: “Getting up to 25,000 tests is something that should occur early on in the May timetable that we’re looking at,” the governor said. But since Texas began slowly reopening on May 1, the state has only met that threshold three tines Before the nearly 36,000 yesterday, there were roughly 49,000 tests on Wednesday, May 13 and 28,873 on May 2.
And cases continue to rise: Texas has reported 1,000 cases of COVID-19 each day for eight straight days. The Hill brought attention to the streak in a May 13 article. “According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, 1,179 new cases were reported on Tuesday,” wrote staff writer Marty Johnson. “Since Gov. Greg Abbott (R) allowed some businesses to resume operations on May 1, Texas has only been below 1,000 new cases per day twice — on May 4 and May 7.”
ABC 13 reporter Nick Natario qualified these findings, writing on Twitter: “This is correct, but the state is also performing more tests. 110,000 more in May than the final two weeks of April. Hospitalization numbers have flattened.” He added that there are 130 fewer Texans in the hospital for COVID-19 than there were in April. However, according to Lauren Ancel Meyers, a biology professor at UT-Austin, it can take 10 days for hospitalization numbers to catch up with infection numbers. She says tracking data indicate that movement to places like grocery stores has increased in recent weeks.
Those numbers will likely increase next week. Monday marks the start of “Phase II” in Texas. Restaurants and retail stores will be open at 50% capacity, and gyms will reopen at 25%.