Dr. Peter Hotez says lack of social distancing could cause spike in cases later

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Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Houston's infectious disease guru worries about cases spiking
Houston's infectious disease guru Dr. Peter Hotez worries about cases spiking in several months.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, is worried that Houstonians are not practicing social distancing and wearing masks.

"I think here in Houston we're underachieving in a lot of aspects in public health, and it's no fault of the leadership, public health leaders. We have, you know, the finest city and county health departments in the country. So, you know, they're just walking around in our Montrose neighborhood. A lot of people are not wearing masks," said Hotez.

Hotez said he fears a spike in cases in a couple of months,

"I'm not so worried about the next few weeks, I'm worried about what happens after that because we've learned something about this virus, and how epidemics arise, and that is things do not go up in a linear way where you see a certain number of cases one day and then the next day the next day. It doesn't work like that. Things will stay flat. And if they're going to go bad, if they're going to go badly, they will rise precipitously but not until later in July or August, according to the models.

"So, what I'm worried about is the relaxation of the social distancing. Everything will look fine for now, a month or so. But as we head later into the summer this fall. I'm worried about a very sharp rise and something that will look way worse than what we've seen over the last few months, and, and unless we take the right public health measures that are commensurate with what we're doing from the economic recovery. That could be our fate," said Hotez.