Third wave of COVID-19 cases expected this fall, UT Health San Antonio president warns

Current spike could last through summer

Dr. William Henrich, president of UT Health San Antonio, talks with Steve and Myra about the recent surge of coronavirus cases.

SAN ANTONIO – As Bexar County deals with a second wave of COVID-19 cases, the president of UT Health San Antonio is urging people to rededicate themselves to wearing masks and practicing social distancing and good hygiene.

“Even though these methods are crude, they do work," Dr. William Henrich said during a Q&A session on KSAT Monday night.

Henrich warned that the second wave could last through the summer.

“This new spike that we’re undergoing right now is concerning because it looks like it’s going to continue for the first weeks of the summer," Henrich said. “One model predicts that it won’t reach its peak until August.”

On Monday, the number of hospitalizations rose again for the sixth straight day, although the new number of cases was low for the first time in a week.

Hospitalizations continue surging as 44 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in San Antonio, Bexar County

There are currently 187 patients in the hospital leaving 26% of hospital beds available.

One of the predictive models that UT Health San Antonio uses to see how San Antonio and Bexar County are faring with the virus predicts that hospitalizations could increase five-fold through July. Hospitalizations are key indicators of the severity of an outbreak.

“I’m urging people to rededicate themselves to the prevention of another surge which could put stress on our medical system,” Henrich said.

‘View the masks as a sign of respect for each other’

Henrich encourages people to be cautious when they leave their homes during this second wave of COVID-19 cases. He also said we should avoid indoor settings with large crowds.

“I ask people, especially in this new uptick that we’re seeing, to be very cautious, and view the masks as as sign of respect for each other, a sign of caring for each other. It’s about all we can do now," he said.

Can we expect a third wave of COVID-19 cases?

“Right now, without a vaccine and without an antiviral, the prediction is we’ll see another spike, hopefully one we can mute, in the fall," Henrich said.

About the Authors:

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

Myra Arthur is passionate about San Antonio and sharing its stories. She graduated high school in the Alamo City and always wanted to anchor and report in her hometown. Myra anchors KSAT News at 6:00 p.m. and hosts and reports for the streaming show, KSAT Explains. She joined KSAT in 2012 after anchoring and reporting in Waco and Corpus Christi.