DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Since the first reported COVID-19 case in Texas nearly two months ago, more than 400,000 Texans have been tested for the virus.
However, even as businesses reopen, economists warn far more testing is needed to ensure a steady economic recovery.READ MORE: Police: Dallas Officer Arrested, Charged With Driving While Intoxicated
“As an economist I like data and data in terms of what’s going on with COVID-19 is all about testing,” said Robert Dye, chief economist for Comerica Bank.
Dye said the biggest obstacle that could derail an economic recovery is a large resurgence of the virus in fall that could result in stay-at-home order and force businesses to close a second time.
In order to detect future outbreaks, and thus prevent them, health officials say we need to test not just the sick but the healthy and do it over and over.
Dye said, “I want to see as much good quality data as I can get to see where is the population now and what can we except next fall. The only way we can get that data is through a significant testing effort.”
While social distancing is possible for some workers, it’s not for others, especially in the labor industry.READ MORE: US Border Agents Receiving Help On Custody Work, Returning To Field
Expanded testing would allow many of these workers to safely return to their jobs.
SMU economist Bud Weinstein said a lack of testing also puts at risk a number of large events that are crucial to the North Texas economy.
“North Texas is a major event center,” Weinstein said. “What happens if there is no State Fair of Texas this year? That’s thousands of jobs. What if we can’t have fans at an N.F.L. game. I mean there are a whole host of events this fall that pump a lot of purchasing power into the local economy. If those events don’t happen our economy is going to suffer.”
The U.S. conducts around 230,000 tests a day.
On the low end, experts say we need to double our testing to at least 500,000 tests a day in order to identify hot spots and prevent major outbreaks.MORE NEWS: US Ramps Up Plan To Expel Thousands Of Haitian Migrants Gathered In Texas