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Houston opened to 75% capacity on Friday, but it may not last long. Officials are cautioning that they may need to order people back home and open a COVID-19 hospital at NRG Stadium, a football complex, as coronavirus cases surge in the nation’s fourth-largest city.

“I’m growing increasingly concerned that we may be approaching the precipice — the precipice of a disaster,” said Lina Hidalgo, the Harris County judge who is the top official for the county’s five million residents.

Hidalgo’s warning comes amid a record week for virus cases and hospitalizations in the Houston area and across Texas, which marked the outbreaks by reopening restaurants to three-quarters of their capacity.

But restarting the economy is taking its toll, Hidalgo said.

“We’ve had the highest hospitalization number this Monday; it’s only grown from there,” Hidalgo said. “The numbers we’re seeing are very significant.”

Fourteen states have seen a spike in hospitalizations since Memorial Day, and the coronavirus death toll is now expected to reach almost 170,000 by October. That’s more than 50,000 additional deaths over the next few months.



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