For weeks Laredo officials have expressed increasing consternation, desperation and fear as COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have grown out of control.
But during a media briefing Wednesday, Mayor Pete Saenz said he has a new glimmer of hope.
“The numbers appear to be tending in a downward curve. Hopefully that will continue,” he said. “It’s not necessarily a trend, but obviously we need to build on that. We need to strengthen our efforts, continue to make those efforts sustainable and productive and fruitful.”
Still, five more local deaths were reported Wednesday.
Health Authority Dr. Victor Treviño noted that Laredo’s hospitals have seen a decrease in admissions, although they are still around 80-90% capacity and experiencing a bed shortage in the intensive care unit. And patients are still being transferred to San Antonio hospitals in order for the hospitals to not hit their capacity.
He believes Laredo is experiencing a downward trajectory in its first wave, which was spurred by holidays, businesses opening and social gatherings.
“As a result of these situations, the infections occurred and now the wave is on its way down,” he said.
The second wave will come when schools open and businesses open more. This will merge with influenza season, Treviño said.
However the health authority warned that Laredo is not near heard immunity, which is when 50-60% of the community has had the virus, making the spread of the disease from one person to another less likely.
“This question keeps coming up among my patients and in the community. Without addressing the unknown of how long one has immunity once recovered from COVID-19 … and in absence of a vaccine, immunity would come with an insurmountable, uncontrollable amount of deaths, exponentially more than what we’re seeing now,” Treviño said.