Texas coronavirus hospitalizations hit new high, up 66% since Memorial Day

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Pedestrians walk past murals painted on boards covering bar windows on 6th Street on May 20, 2020 in Austin, Texas.

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The number of people sickened with Covid-19 across Texas‘ hospitals continues to rise with coronavirus hospitalizations now up more than 66% since Memorial Day as the state continues to reopen.

There are currently 2,518 patients hospitalized with a coronavirus infection, marking the seventh new high in the state in a little over a week, according to updated data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. That’s also up roughly 66% since Memorial Day when there were 1,511 hospitalized Covid-19 patients, state data shows.

Coronavirus hospitalizations, like new cases and deaths, are considered a key measure of the outbreak because it helps scientists gauge how severe it may be. At least 10 states in total are showing a rise in hospitalizations, according to a CNBC analysis of data from the COVID Tracking Project.

Texas was among the first states to relax its statewide stay-at-home order, allowing it to expire April 30 and some businesses to resume operations May 1. On June 3, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order to announce the third phase of the state’s plan to open additional businesses and activities.

The steady rise in coronavirus hospitalizations in the state will likely add to scrutiny from some public health experts and U.S. lawmakers that some states opened businesses too early. In recent weeks, some state and federal leaders have downplayed a recent rise in cases and hospitalizations across the U.S., tying it to an increase in testing. 

Infectious disease specialists and scientists note that the U.S. and other parts of the world will likely continue to see a rise in cases until there is an proven drug treatment or effective vaccine. 

“Before a vaccine becomes widely available, we can only hope that … the pathogen becomes less virulent and people come to treat it like seasonal influenza,”  said Yanzhong Huang, a public health researcher at the Council on Foreign Relations and director of the Center for Global Health Studies at Seton Hall University.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said states may need to reimplement the strict social distancing measures that were put in place earlier this year if U.S. coronavirus cases rise “dramatically.”

“Right now, communities are experiencing different levels of transmission occurring, as they gradually ease up onto the community mitigation efforts and gradually reopen,” the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, told reporters during a press briefing. 

— Charts by CNBC’s Nate Rattner and John Schoen

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