Because this is important regarding Texas’ policy decisions today.
The reopening of Texas was done in a phased approach. The purpose of this is to, ideally, evaluate COVID19 spread BEFORE going to the next phase. Unfortunately, this wasn’t done in a consistent, data-driven manner and we may be seeing the impact now. Let me explain…
Note: Remember, we have to give policies at LEAST 2 weeks to even start to evaluate their the impact on COVID19.
Phase I: Two weeks after Phase I was implemented, COVID19 spread increased very slightly, but not in a meaningful way. This is okay (it would have been great if this went down). But time to move on to Phase II.
Phase II: This phase gets messy. Within two weeks after Phase II was implemented, there was also Memorial Day and protests/demonstrations/riots. The combination of these three was followed by exponential growth. Parsing out which caused which is impossible. The ONLY way we can do this is IF we had a comprehensive, state-wide contact tracing program. Which we don’t. If we did, we could see who got the disease where and how they spread it. Nonetheless, given this exponential spread, we should have never moved on to Phase III.
Phase III: But we did. It has now been three weeks since Phase III was implemented. We’ve never seen so much COVID19 spread across the state of Texas. Ever. So, we aren’t going to Phase IV (as of today).
Translation: Stopping Phase IV is the right call. However, it’s after a series of wrong calls. The disease has spread and, unfortunately, we may have to go back.
Love, your local epidemiologist
Data Source: DSHS. Graphs created in collaboration with my biostatistical rockstar colleagues, Drs. Yamal and Yaseen.