For most of November, healthcare experts warned against Thanksgiving travel and gathering with friends and families that had spent the year apart due to the pandemic. They said a single person at the table could infect everyone and put the elderly at risk.
Millions ignored the warnings. Now that travel is over, the waiting game is on.
It takes about two weeks before the coronavirus to fully present, which could add to the wave of cases that North Texas has been experiencing, the experts say.
Prior to the holiday, hospitals were already bursting at the seams with patients.
“The numbers were going up into this weekend so we knew that there were a lot of cases already and certainly when we started moving around more it certainly increases the risk and the possibility that we’ll see more.” said Dr. John Carlo, a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID 19 Task Force. “We definitely are very concerned as to what this may look like in the next couple weeks.”
The latest numbers show COVID 19 patients using 15.6 percent of hospital beds across North Texas. Carlo thinks that number is bound to go up. But it isn’t just bed space he is worried about. The growing fatigue among healthcare workers who have been struggling to keep up with the demand since the pandemic hit has administrators wary.
“Our friends and colleagues that are out there doing this, pulling double shifts, working the extra hours, there’s been a lot of people that have called in sick and so there’s already shortages there as well. So it’s definitely a factor that we’ve got to make sure we do not overrun our healthcare system and that’s really the people that are doing all the work.” Carlo said.
But with the travel damage done, there are few options. One possibility is self-isolating, which Carlo says could help contain any spread from those who may have become infected but are not yet aware.
“If you are going to be around other individuals that may be at high risk this is definitely something to be thinking about. You may want to, kind of, limit that activity and make sure that you are doing the right thing and not putting anybody that might be at risk for severe illness in that situation.” he said.