UT Southwestern's revised COVID-19 model indicates a spike in virus-related hospitalizations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in the coming weeks.
The model predicts a 20% surge over the next two weeks.
The model also indicates that the number of additional infections caused by each infected person will rise, meaning that the virus will continue to spread.
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"The number of people we're going to get in the hospital this week has already been set. Those people were infected about one incubation period coming back and we already know that they're going to come. There's nothing we can do right now to affect that trajectory," said Dr. Mujeeb Basit of UT Southwestern Medical Center. "What we can affect is the number of patients that are going to come a week and a half from now."
Infectious disease experts from UTSW held a virtual meeting Monday to discuss their concerns and offer advice on what the public can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"The trend now is skewing towards younger people. We're seeing 30, 35-year-olds in there," Basit said. "They are now representing an increased portion of the people requiring hospitalization and requiring ICU care and ventilation."
The UT Southwestern experts attributed the increase in COVID-19 cases to a decrease in restrictions as businesses continue new phases of reopening.
Doctors urged the use of face masks, which are required inside Dallas County businesses, and limiting exposure.
"Go out only as necessary," Dr. Julie Trivedi of UT Southwestern said. "We understand that being able to socialize with other people is part of our humanness... there are ways to do things safely."