COVID-19 cases are rising dramatically in Fort Worth, in Texas, and across the country, prompting warnings from lawmakers and health officials to double back down on anti-virus practices.
On November 9, Tarrant County hit a record with 1,525 new COVID-19 cases, putting the total number of cases at more than 75,000.
Dallas County also saw a record number of daily new COVID-19 cases on November 11, with 1,401 — the largest number so far, with the exception of days when backlogs were recorded.
Hospitalizations across North Texas and Dallas County showed a comparable jump.
Texas, meanwhile, became the first state in the U.S. to top 1 million confirmed cases since the pandemic began, with a tally of 1,010,364 infections. Texas has the 10th largest number of cases in the world, and has surpassed the country of Italy.
Other states are seeing increases, too. According to the Associated Press, hospitals in Tulsa, Oklahoma, are full, and North Dakota has a shortage of qualified personnel. The U.S. has already logged one million cases in November, not even halfway through the month.
CNBC predicts that the U.S. is headed for a "dark winter," a "COVID Hell," the "darkest days of the pandemic."
At a press conference on November 12, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said that the COVID-19 outbreak is "spiking dangerously," and that Dallas County could reach its highest COVID hospitalization census yet if people do not begin to change their behavior.
Officials are especially concerned about the upcoming holiday and the likelihood that people are going to gather in groups.
"Small gatherings are some of the most problematic," Jenkins said. "People need to celebrate with their nuclear family, and celebrate at home."
He also cautioned against Black Friday and against big parties, and recommended limiting any kind of interaction with other people.
"Now is the time for those who have given into COVID fatigue and lost their resolve to wear a mask and avoid crowds to strengthen their commitment to public health and our economy by doing the things that we know will keep us safe," Jenkins said.
Health experts strongly recommend wearing a mask when around people who do not live in your home, maintaining a six-foot distance, washing your hands, avoiding crowds, and avoiding unnecessary trips.
Jenkins said we are entering "the most dangerous phase we have seen to date" in the COVID crisis.