Expert fears schools and Texas reopening could lead to COVID-19 resurgence this fall

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- With October less than a week away, experts fear the number of people with COVID-19 in the U.S. could drastically increase.

Students returning to school in-person and business owners increasing capacity due to Gov. Greg Abbott's latest reopening phase is a recipe for disaster, said Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean for the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.


"I've been predicting we're going to see a pretty significant fall resurgence," Hotez said. "I'm quite worried about that."

Hotez also said the resurgence might not be far. Based on what happened this summer, he believes the second surge could start in a couple weeks.

"I'm a little worried as we move to the middle and end of October of how things are going to go," Hotez explained.

It comes at a time where Houston ISD parents have to decide whether to let their kids return for in-person learning.

Hotez explained if they do, there's a significant likelihood those students will get sick.


"Most kids handle COVID-19 really well," Hotez said. "That's good news. The tough part is who that child is coming home to."

A vaccine would help a fall resurgence, but Hotez, who has helped with the FDA process, said it's unlikely to be available until early next year.

The vaccine's timeline is concerning to some political leaders. This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called for an independent review after the FDA approves any vaccine.

"I think (a review) would help change my mind and just reinforce the FDA's findings," Frank Fellows, who supports a review, said.

"I don't think it should be based on one person's opinion that it should be okay for everybody to take it," Vontyne Williams, who also supports a review, said.


Hotez said he would feel safe taking the vaccine if it was approved by the FDA, and conducting an independent review isn't necessary.

"It's pretty extraordinary, right? Because we have one of the most robust scientific review of vaccines the world has ever created," Hotez explained.

About 30,000 Americans, on average, are testing positive for COVID-19 each day. That means the U.S. was never able to get the virus under control, Hotez said. So according to him, if kids start going back to school in-person, people are seen not wearing masks, and business owners open their doors to more people, October could mark the start of a rough period.

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