People stood in long lines for water and food at grocery stores and food distribution sites, stayed overnight in warming centers, and crashed with friends and family while electricity cut out and pipes burst in their homes.
Although it’s unclear how many people are still displaced because of the storm, reports from various cities suggest that thousands across Texas may have been forced to seek shelter.
“There are very real possibilities that the coronavirus either had superspreader events or was more easily transmissible because people were congregated indoors for long periods of time,” Dr. Jetelina said. “It is a little bit worrying.”
But cases could also go the other way, she said, because millions of people were forced to stay home while work and school were largely canceled. With the data reporting lags, it is still too early to tell, she noted, so the full impact from the Texas storm on case numbers will not be known for at least another week. Even then, Dr. Jetelina said, it will be hard to tell whether an uptick in cases is related to the storm or to new, more contagious variants — or to a combination of both.
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