Houston-area doctor feels 'encouraged' by recent decline in COVID-19 cases

Has the COVID-19 surge finally peaked? Some experts say national data suggests the U.S. may have peaked earlier this month.

On January 11, the 7-day average of new COVID-19 cases was 246,321. Since, then the number has trended downward. This Wednesday, the 7-day average was 192,825. 

What about locally?

Dr. James McDeavitt, Senior Vice President and Dean of Clinical Affairs with Baylor College of Medicine believes yes.

"Every single metric that I look at, every single number, indicates that we are starting to head back down again. So, that's very, very encouraging," he told FOX 26.


Those metrics include a decline in cases, deaths, and viral product found in waste water.

"Can't be sure, but it looks that way," McDeavitt added. 

He believes it will be another week or two before we will really know. He attributes the decline to measures like masking and social distancing.

RELATED: The number of Coronavirus COVID-19 cases, deaths, recoveries in greater Houston area

"This is not a vaccine phenomenon," McDeavitt noted.

The impact of the vaccine are still months away.

"The biggest problem has been supply," he said.

The inadequate supply and logistical challenges associated with its distribution affect large institutions like Baylor College of Medicine. 

"So far, we've been allocated a total 7,000 doses and that's dose 1 and 2, so that's enough to vaccinate 3,500 people," McDeavitt pointed out. However, he says in their database they have 63,000 patients who fall into the priority groups.

It is also impacting small providers, like Magnolia Pharmacy in Montgomery County.

"We're ready to go. It's just a matter of getting vaccine," said Steve Hoffart, its owner.

Hoffart says, so far, they've only gotten enough first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine for 500 people.

But the demand is there. A week ago, he created a waiting list. At last check, he says 7,700 people were on his list. 


He's put in requests for more and teamed up with volunteers and community leaders for when they arrive.

"We're trying to set up a COVID vaccine clinic as part of the pharmacy where we have the ability to do 200 to 400 a day, and that's looking very promising," Hoffart said.

Dr. McDeavitt is also encouraged by the Biden administration's goal of giving a million doses a day.

"The 100 million doses in 100 days is not an audacious goal, it's a necessary goal. If we're going to get to herd immunity this year, then we really have to start vaccinating to that rate," he concluded.

McDeavitt emphasized the burden on the healthcare system is far from over because even with numbers going down, they are still very high.