TEXAS (CSBDFW.COM/AP) – New coronavirus deaths in Texas dropped Friday, according to the Associate Press.
The decline comes a day after a single-day record of 50 fatalities was set on the eve of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott lifting stay-at-home orders.
The new figures came as the state prepared for a slow reboot of one of the world’s largest economies by re-opening retail, restaurants, malls and movies to limited amounts of customers.
But the new deaths reported on Thursday weren’t necessarily a sign the disease has grown more virulent, according to some experts.
And as for case numbers, the number of infections is likely higher since many people weren’t tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks, according to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Another reason behind the high number of deaths reported on Thursday is that there’s currently more testing available now more than ever.
‘Yet another factor to consider in the rising number of COVID-19 deaths despite the waning pandemic, is how long on average it takes a person to die from the disease.
“Deaths are a lagging indicator,” Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at Harvard University told Fortune. Once people are infected, “it takes around three weeks on average for someone to die.”
Governor Greg Abbott’s spokesman John Wittman told the Associated Press, despite the spike in new infections, Texas has boosted testing and the infection rate per test is down to about 7%, compared with above 10% a few weeks ago.
“As Texas ramps up its testing, there will be more positive cases,” Wittman said. “The hospitalization rate has remained steady and the fact remains Texas has one of the lowest death rates per capita in the country, showing the success of our efforts.”
More than 120 people have died during the past three days in Texas.