Corpus Christi Makes Headlines in The New York Times
The New York Times, Section A, page 12, July 12 national edition. There it is. A story about beach community tourism and how it brought one of the fastest-growing COVID-19 outbreaks in Texas to the city of Corpus Christi on the Texas Gulf Coast. Along with pictures of tourists on the beach is a shot of Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb at his desk in City Hall.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d be telling tourists, ‘Don’t come to our beaches,’ the mayor told New York Times reporter J. David Goodman.
The story reports that Corpus Christi has more cases per capita than Houston, the state’s biggest hot spot for COVID-19. Contact tracers are overwhelmed and hospital beds are filling up, the story continues, citing Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi research on just how quickly the virus took over the city’s resources.
“The part that’s different is just how fast we rose in the number of cases and how fast it spread,” Dr. Christopher Bird of TAMU-CC told The Times reporter.
The reason can be traced by analyzing cellphone data, Bird said. According to the TAMU-CC study, the city returned to pre-pandemic levels of getting out and about by early June, most noticeably in restaurants and a surge in tourism.
Hotels and vacation rentals began to fill up as visitors flocked to the beaches starting Memorial Day weekend. After that, “every weekend was Memorial Day weekend,” said the head of Visit Corpus Christi, Brett Oetting. Many of those visitors did not wear masks and were not social distancing, reported area business owners.
The city shut down vehicular traffic on the beaches for the Fourth of July weekend.
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