AUSTIN (KXAN) — Thanksgiving week may be a critical, or even dangerous, tipping point for at least 100 Texas counties.
New data from Harvard University shows at least 120 Lone Star State counties are now at red-level COVID-19 risk level — meaning they currently have 25 or more cases per 100,000 people.
Harris County leads in Texas and is fifth nationally for number of confirmed cases, with 178,811. The county is home to Houston, the fourth-largest city in the U.S. It ranks 10th nationally in number of deaths, with 2,943 fatalities reported as of Saturday.
Dallas County, which includes Dallas, follows Harris as number two in numbers of cases, with 113,754. Tarrant County follows third, statewide, with 87,536 cases.
According to the Harvard risk dashboard, ‘tipping point’ level suggests stay-at-home orders are necessary.
Despite surging numbers, however, Gov. Greg Abbott said earlier this week that no more lockdowns are going to happen.
In an interview on a Dallas radio show, Gov. Abbott said: “We are not going to have any more lockdowns in the state of Texas. Our focal point is gonna be working to heal those who have COVID, get them out of hospitals quickly, make sure they get back to their normal lives.”
But as Thanksgiving approaches — bringing the desire to gather with family and friends — the holiday could be the turning point toward disaster.
Only four Texas counties will enter Thanksgiving with the lowest risk of COVID-19 spread (green-level): Motley and King counties in north Texas, Cherokee County in east Texas, and Kenedy County in south Texas.
Of these four, King County has the fewest numbers of cases, with just one confirmed as of Saturday.