HARLINGEN, Texas – The way doctors and scientists view the pandemic is different than how the average person breaks down data. Many of the hospitals are overwhelmed in south Texas and data leads health officials to believe the worst is on the way.
“There is so much virus out there now, there are so many people who are infectious right now that the case numbers become exponential.” said Cameron County Health Authority Dr. James Castillo.
To date, Cameron County has 3,246 total cases of COVID-19. Dr. Castillo believes the true number of infections is 10 to 20 times greater than every confirmed case. “It is hard to follow the numbers on a day-by-day basis. Labs don’t report every day.” Dr. Castillo said, “There are just so many people out there infected and not getting tested.”
The delay in lab results is coupled with the backlog of death certificates at the Texas Department of State Health Services. A real-time death account takes weeks if not a month to confirm. As health officials urge families and those with underlying health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or living below the poverty line to stay home. Fourth of July weekend, Dr. Castillo believes those who contracted the virus and don’t know it yet, will begin showing symptoms soon. “The deaths from that surge won’t get reported,” said Dr. Castillo. “You won’t start seeing that number really go up until weeks or a month or so later.”
“Right now, if you’re not changing your behavior and you’re doing whatever you like as normal. You expect to be saved by the hospital, if you get sick, I wouldn’t expect that.”
Hospitals, nurses, and Dr. Castillo urge everyone to stay home, social distance, wear a mask, and clean high touch surface areas because you may be positive and not know it yet.