Texas reported its highest daily jump in coronavirus cases on Thursday, with just under 6,000 new infections.
The spike could be a precursor of things to come, warned Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The situation in Texas is a warning shot for the situation that could occur in any state where this isn’t being taken seriously enough,” Besser told CNN.
“Part of this comes down to this clash of messages where you hear some political leaders downplaying the seriousness of the pandemic telling people to get back to work, get back to their social lives, while every public health leader in the country is saying this is really serious, this is early days in the pandemic.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced he is pausing the state’s reopening plans, and asked people to stay at home.
“What we're seeing in Texas is a healthcare system that is in many places on the verge of getting overwhelmed, and we know what that looks like from what happened in New York City. Hopefully the actions that are being taken now, aren't too little too late,” Besser said.
A "super spreader event": A surprise birthday party in northern Texas late last month is now being linked to at least 18 cases of coronavirus.
Besser said it’s another warning that people need to maintain social distancing and wear masks in public.
“These kind of events are what are called super spreader events where, for some reasons that are unknown, a lot of cases occur from the exposure to one or two people. But it's a sign that we have to take this seriously," he said.