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Texas among states under-counting virus cases as infections spike

texas coronavirus

ATLANTA, Georgia -- At least 28 states, including Texas, are not following U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on reporting new Covid-19 cases —half of which saw the trend of new cases increasing in the last week.

Those states are not reporting probable cases, according to the daily case count listed on the CDC’s website. Probable cases include those that show evidence of an infection without the confirmation of a lab test and cases where coronavirus was listed as a cause or contributing cause of death but are not confirmed with a lab test.

Some of the states with the largest populations — like Texas, California, Florida, and New York — are among those listed as not reporting probable cases, despite CDC guidance that they should be included in the case count.

This comes as 26 states, including Texas, see an increased or steady rate of new cases. Accurate rates of new cases are among the metrics that help officials track how the disease is spreading in the U.S. and make decisions about how to reopen and loosen restrictions put in place to mitigate its impact.

More than 1.9 million Americans have been infected, and more than 111,000 have died in just over four months, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Though coronavirus reporting guidelines are voluntary, states not reporting probable cases likely under-count the number of people infected and make it difficult for officials to get the true picture of where the nation stands in the midst of a pandemic that has rocked almost every aspect of life.

As many of the hardest hit states begin to recover from the pandemic, cases have risen elsewhere.

What is particularly worrisome, some say, is that even with the under counting of cases, states like Texas and Arizona have seen spikes in infections, with both reporting more than 1,000 new cases in one day.

As Texas moves forward with a new phase of Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan for reopening businesses, the daily number of confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations is on a steady, upward trend.

Throughout Texas, the number of new cases reported each day has grown from an average of about 1,081 during the week ending May 24 to about 1,527 in the past week. (Public health data varies day to day, so officials use a seven-day rolling average to better capture trends over time.)

The 14-day trend line shows new infections in Texas have risen about 71% in the past two weeks. Although confirmed infections have increased across the state, hot spots like state prisons and meatpacking plants, which have recently been the sites of mass or targeted testing, are responsible for a portion of the increase, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the state reported 1,935 Texans were being treated for Covid-19 in hospitals, which is the highest number of hospitalizations reported by the state so far.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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