CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The new wave of COVID-19 cases will lead to more than double the number of hospitalizations in the coming weeks than at the peak of the pandemic last summer according to new research.
The demand that hundreds of coronavirus patients would put on doctors and nurses would leave Coastal Bend hospitals less able to handle routine medical conditions.
“If you have an appendicitis and you want to be able to get treatment, we need to control this outbreak right now," Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi researcher Dr. Chris Bird said. "Because otherwise we’re going to get into a situation where that might not be possible.”
Bird's projections are less dire if people once again start taking COVID-19 precautions.
“The number one tool in our arsenal to slow down COVID immediately -- which is what has to happen to stop these projections from coming true -- is we can put on masks," he said. "Masks work immediately."
City leaders echoed Bird's calls for mask-wearing and also social distancing, staying home if you feel sick, and getting your COVID-19 vaccine if you haven't already.
“As a community we need to work together to end this virus," Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo said. "I implore you to please get vaccinated.”
It's unlikely that everyone will immediately resume COVID-19 precautions, like mask-wearing. Bird is hopeful that enough people do though, so his projections of overwhelmed hospitals and the resulting deaths won't come true.
"We’ve done it before," Bird said. "Best of all, you can prove the projections wrong by doing more to stop the spread of COVID. I would like to see nothing more than that.”