May 23, 2020

London COVID-19 Trackers Estimates Suggest
Texas Moving at Dangerous Reopening Pace

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

The coronavirus is spreading more in Texas than any other state with at least four times as many people currently infected than the official tally shows based on a new study at one of the world's most prestigious universities.

The model that an elite team of COVID-19 experts have developed at the Imperial College of London estimates that almost 406,000 people had the disease or had recovered in Texas by May 17 when the Department of State Health Services had the total infection count here at less than 48,000.

The state agency had recorded 53,449 coronavirus infections since the outbreak here in early March by mid-afternoon on Friday. At least 1,480 of the cases that had been confirmed in Texas had ended in death according to the DSHS count heading into the Memorial Day weekend. .

Researchers at the world renown school in England estimate that almost 77 percent of the people who'd been infected have recovered in Texas where the state has the figured pegged at only 60 percent.

The virus modelling scientists at the research institution in the United Kingdom are calculating asymptomatic cases into the estimates. Separate studies have indicated that between 25 percent and 35 percent of the people who've been infected with the coronavirus haven't experienced symptoms.

But the virus trackers at the Imperial College of London have Texas crowning the list of 24 states where the spread of the disease is not under control yet and could be accelerated by the lifting of restrictions like Governor Greg Abbott has been doing faster than most of his counterparts around the nation.

The Republican governor has been substantially more optimistic than the experts at the European institution of higher learning that's ranked as one of the 10 best universities on the planet. Abbott - an attorney who's been a statewide elected official for two dozen years - has suggested that the coronavirus has been contained based on the number of new cases that have been confirmed on a daily basis for the past few weeks.

While the daily tally on new infections has been higher during the past two weeks than it had been since the first cases were in Texas on March 6, Abbott has insisted that the rate of transmission hasn't been as high as the numbers make it appear as a result of an increase in testing around the state.

The study by the scientists in London - however - gives the impression that the Texas governor has been moving at a potentially dangerous pace with a reopening that's been more aggressive than those that are under way or have yet to begin in the other states that rank among the top 10 in population.

After receiving overwhelming public support for a relatively cautious approach during the pandemic's first two months, Abbott caved in early this month to pressure from conservatives who'd been demanding an end to restrictions when he effectively gutted his authority to appease a Dallas hair salon owner who'd been jailed for violating an emergency order that had shut nonessential businesses down temporarily.

While state licensing authorities dropped plans to pursue cases involving barbers and beauticians in the wake of Abbott's emergency order enforcement invalidating in the Shelley Luther case, the governor warned on Friday that other violators might not get the same treatment and could face legal action by the state.

Arizona ranks second behind Texas on the list of states that the Imperial College team believes that it's too early to reopen followed by Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Missouri, Delaware, South Carolina, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Maryland.


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