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UT researchers say COVID-19 projections show 'troubling signs of increases' heading into the holidays

At the current trajectory, the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium projects COVID-19-related hospitalizations are on the rise.

AUSTIN, Texas — Researchers in Central Texas are tracking COVID-19 across the state and in the Austin area. 

Dr. Spencer Fox, the associate director of the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, said the group released a report about a month ago that said there were signs "a real resurgence [was] about to come."

Credit: UT Covid-19 Modeling Consortium

"Unfortunately, what we've seen is that's happened, and particularly some areas in West Texas right now are hitting hospital capacity, ICU capacity," said Dr. Fox. 

In addition to the spikes in West Texas, he said many trauma service areas around the state, including Austin, are starting to see slow upticks. 

"And and we're seeing troubling signs of increases right now. Thankfully, we're not seeing strong signs of huge exponential growth, I would say, but we are seeing steady increases," said Fox. 

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He said this will be something they closely monitor in the coming days and weeks. 

"I think, looking ahead, many experts were hoping that we could reduce transmission to a low point before the holidays, which would make holiday gatherings a little bit safer," he said. "What we're seeing right now is the opposite."

Dr. Fox said between holiday get-togethers and people hanging out inside more, they're worried we'll see a bigger spike than projected. 

"Absolutely, what we're seeing around the country is quite alarming, and right now many, many of the websites and dashboards are basically saying there's uncontrolled spread everywhere in the country," said Fox. "And what that means is that pandemic will just exponentially grow until we're unable to slow it down. And so if we're not able to slow it down over the next few weeks, going into the holidays, we'll be seeing an even worse situation than we are today." 

Credit: UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium

If you look at the projections for two weeks after Thanksgiving, on Dec. 10, the UT COVID-19 Modeling Consortium is projecting 319 COVID-19 hospitalizations that day in the Austin area.

Fox said people's behaviors affect the projections, so things can always change.

WATCH: Austin-area hospitals still have beds, ICU space

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