DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The most detailed study yet on the spread of COVID-19 in North Texas paints a grim picture of the summer if social distancing and other preventive measures are relaxed.

The projections come from a UT Southwestern Medical Center study and suggest Dallas County could see 800 new cases a day by late June if society returns to normal.

Each day this week Dallas County has reported more than 200 COVID-19 cases.

It comes at a time when more businesses are reopening and allowing more people inside.

UT Southwestern Medical Center analyzed mobile phone data to determine how much North Texans are social distancing.

It found that social distancing the way it’s practiced now is 60% effective at preventing the spread of COVID-19.

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But the study also revealed that even a slight drop off in social distancing could cause new cases to spike 400% by mid-summer.

Dr. Mark Casanova, the  Dallas County Medical Society President, says, “We actually saw this in late March early April, the beginning of this experience here in North Texas, where North Texans really did a remarkable job of social distancing and other safe behaviors. And we actually had a much more favorable outcome than we did that we could have had, without that degree of social distancing, the opposite is true has as well. Relaxing those measures to a degree measured by mere percentage points can have really dramatic increase in numbers of positive cases.”

The results of this study support the views of those who are calling for a more cautious approach to reopening businesses and allowing public gatherings.

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