Updated Jul 7, 2022 - News

COVID cases steadily rising in North Texas

Illustration of a pattern of covid particles and positive signs turning into each other.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Coronavirus cases have been steadily rising for weeks in North Texas, and the Fourth of July weekend will likely cause another jump in tallies.

Driving the news: Omicron is the dominant variant in the Dallas area, and its two highly transmissible subvariants now make up 50 of ne%w cases, according to UT Southwestern.

Why it matters: Though COVID has become more contagious, many people have returned to in-person work, travel has returned to pre-pandemic levels and masking is no longer de rigueur.

  • Anecdotally, you probably know someone who has or recently had COVID.

Details: COVID cases are milder now than during earlier waves, and vaccinations have been effective at reducing hospitalizations and deaths.

  • But, but, but: Even people with a mild illness can take two weeks to fully recover. And more people are reporting symptoms of long COVID, including breathing problems and organ damage months after they were ill.

What they're saying: Dallas County public health director Philip Huang tells Axios that everyone should take an at-home test before attending large gatherings and wear masks in crowded places, such as on public transit.

  • "We just need to keep some vigilance," Huang said. "You still want to avoid this."

By the numbers: An estimated 2.1 million Texans have long COVID, according to the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

  • Almost 62% of Texans older than 6 months are fully vaccinated.
  • 7.1 million people have been boosted statewide, but 10.8 million fully vaccinated Texans have not yet gotten a booster shot.
  • Coronavirus hospitalizations in North Texas increased 28% between the third and fourth week of June and have tripled since May.

Between the lines: Many of the new cases aren't tallied because of at-home testing.

What to do: The CDC has an online tool to calculate how long you should isolate or quarantine after contracting COVID or being exposed to the virus.

What we're watching: Protection from early vaccinations, boosters or prior illness will start waning when colder weather pushes people back indoors. This could cause another large wave of new cases.

  • Variant-specific boosters are expected to roll out in the fall, and children are now eligible to be vaccinated.
  • Almost 23,000 Dallas children ages 6 months to 5 years have received a shot since becoming eligible last month.

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