TAMU-CC Researchers Urge Residents to Follow Precautions to Slow Rapid Increase of COVID-19

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Researchers are urging people in the community to commit themselves to carefully following precautions, such as social distancing, hand-washing, wearing face coverings, staying at home, and not gathering in groups in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Data and models developed by researchers at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi show that the Coastal Bend is in the middle of a sharp increase in deaths related to COVID-19 with even more expected over the coming weeks, particularly if precautions are not followed.

“To control the pandemic, it is vital that all members of the community stay home if they can, wear masks outside of their home, stay home if they have any COVID symptoms, wash their hands frequently, and observe all other recommendations,” said Dr. Philippe Tissot, Interim Director of the Conrad Blucher Institute (CBI) at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The task force recommends being particularly careful with family gatherings with relatives one may not see every day, including funerals, baby showers, weddings, and other family events. The public is especially cautioned to avoid contacts with older members of the family.

“The sooner and the more people implement safety measures, the fewer casualties in a few weeks,” Tissot said.

Data assembled by the research team forecasts sharp increases in the number of fatalities related to the pandemic, with average daily deaths per capita in Corpus Christi now ranked second-highest metro area in the state. This time last month, Corpus Christi had one of the lowest rates per capita across Texas.

“As of July 14, the pandemic is still growing fast in the Coastal Bend and the impact of walking back some of the opening measures has yet to be felt,” Tissot said. “According to the analyses of the Coastal Bend COVID-19 Joint Taskforce, Corpus Christi is now the number one metro area in Texas for new COVID cases and second in fatalities per capita.”

Average daily cases in Corpus Christi are now more than 80 per capita per day, far ahead of San Antonio, with fewer than 40 per capita per day, and Houston, with fewer than 30 per capita per day. A month ago, Corpus Christi was among the three cities with the lowest rate of new cases.

In average daily deaths per capita, McAllen, Corpus Christi, and Laredo are far ahead of the rest of the state. The rate in Corpus Christi is now more than double the rate in nearby cities, such as San Antonio, Austin, and Houston.

Deaths are a lagging indicator and given the continued large number of new cases in the Coastal Bend, task force members expect the casualty rate will unfortunately continue to be very high for several weeks.

Tissot and other members of the special task force are preparing in-depth reports and public presentations each week for the City of Corpus Christi and Nueces County that model the course of the virus across the Coastal Bend.

The team’s presentations and findings can be seen on a special dashboard: https://www.conradblucherinstitute.org/covid19.