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'We have to be cautious' | Doctors warn Texas is on track for a second wave of COVID-19

Hospitalizations and new cases of coronavirus across Texas have shown a slow but steady increase since the beginning of October.

HOUSTON — New infections of COVID-19 in Texas are slowly increasing, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

New hospitalizations are also increasing, again, slowly, but steadily. Hospitalizations hit a three-month low in late September of 3,091, but as of Thursday, have risen to 4,931. 

Average new cases are increasing too, since the beginning of October, according to DSHS data. Harris County and the City of Houston are reflecting these same trends.

In the last seven days (Oct. 16 to Oct. 22), Texas reported 4,478 new cases of COVID-19. In the previous seven days (Oct. 9 to Oct. 15), the state reported 3,795, a difference of 683 from one week to the next.

Dr. James McDeavitt, SVP and Dean of Clinical Affairs for Baylor College of Medicine, said hospitals in the Texas Medical Center are beginning to reopen COVID-19 units in anticipation of the rise in cases.

“Not because we need them but because there’s a hint that the surge might be coming, and we want to be prepared for that," said Dr. McDeavitt.

The question is, will this second surge be more or less severe than the wave Texas saw in July when the state was reporting 10,000 new cases a day?

"The danger of exponential growth of the virus is it starts off slowly, and then all of a sudden, because it multiplies, multiplies, multiplies, it's out of control, so we have to be cautious," Dr. McDeavitt said. “I think we are at a very delicate equilibrium, or at the beginning of a new surge.”

His concern is that people traveling for the holidays will spread the virus.

“That’s like a perfect setup to become a super spreader event," said Dr. McDeavitt.

He wrote an article about the "Holiday Family Bubble," similar to the model the NBA used to protect its players this season: there were zero infections.

"One weak link will breach your bubble. Half-hearted commitments will only lead to a dangerous false sense of security," he wrote.

He created a "Holiday Checklist" to make it easy.

The tips come with a several guidelines that maximize safety leading up to and during your holiday visits.