WACO, Texas — The state of Texas has reached a record number of COVID-19 cases. Now, experts say it's up to us as a community to help slow the spread.
Emily Smith an epidemiologist at Baylor University, created a Facebook page when the pandemic started to share easy to understand information about COVID-19.
Smith said the community did a great job of flattening the curve at the beginning, but with this virus there are multiple curves and peaks.
"The problem with some states, including Texas, is we never went down in the curve that we needed to not create a second wave, so we're actually not in the second wave, we're still living in the first wave,” Smith said.
With the current spike in cases in the state of Texas, Smith said a big concern is our hospitals.
"Overwhelming our health system can happen within a few weeks and that means what we're seeing in Houston of patients now being shuffled around for care,” Smith said. “Elective surgeries will probably have to be canceled again so we're kind of back to square one."
With more testing, comes more cases. However, Smith said people should pay attention to the 'positivity rate.'
"If you increase testing another tenfold and you see a tenfold increase in cases then there's not really an increase in spread, it's because you're testing more,” Smith said. “However, if you increase testing by tenfold and you see a 20-30 fold increase in cases because of that, that means the positivity rate has gone up."
Many cities now require the use of masks in businesses and public places. So how can they protect us from the virus?
"My mask will protect you and yours will protect me, and so that's hard for people to understand,” Smith said. “So what that means is when I wear a mask and I'm sick and I cough, my mask will more than likely catch at least the big particles, not all of them but the big ones that could really make somebody sick."
Smith said everyone should learn to be more patient with one another because we're in this for the long haul.
"The more proactive we can be, the less risk we will have of community spread and overwhelming hospitals, so that's the hard part is people will tend to not pay attention until everything hits,” Smith said.
COVID-19 and social media