Some experts believe Texas has already reached its peak in COVID-19 deaths. If this is true, does that mean the pandemic is coming to an end? And since Texas is reopening, can we go back to normal? Let’s start with what it means to reach the other side of the peak.
What does reaching the peak mean?
Experts explain that it’s not about the day we have the highest number of cases. Rather, it’s when the number of cases consistently decreases every day for at least a week (preferably two) that we can determine when the cases peaked. However, the accuracy of the number of COVID-19 cases we see depends on how many people get tested.
Does this indicate that the COVID-19 pandemic is almost over?
Just because cases are going down doesn’t mean the virus is going away. It simply suggests that the measures we’ve taken — social distancing, wearing masks, staying home — have helped slow the spread, thus elongating the duration of the pandemic. So why is it a good thing to extend this pandemic?
It’s all about flattening the curve so we can prevent an overwhelming surge of patients on the state’s healthcare systems, which would deplete resources quickly and lead to worse outcomes. These measures also allow for more time to look into new, effective treatments and eventually develop a vaccine.
Texas is reopening, so when can we go back to normal?
Before we can start gathering together in large groups, we need to have protocols in place to prevent another surge of cases. This may include:
- Continuing to practice good hand hygiene.
- Continuing to practice social distancing.
- Limiting the number of people in gatherings.
- Wearing protective masks in public.
- Ensuring that people who are infected (and those they had contact with) isolate themselves from others for the appropriate amount of time, usually at least two weeks.