'The tsunami is here': Record rise in Texas

Updated: Jul 12, 2020, 07:35 IST | Agencies | Austin

State that embarked on one of America's fastest reopenings, surpasses 10,000 COVID-19 hospitalised patients for the first time

An aerial view of motorists lined up to be tested for COVID-19 in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood. Pic/AFP
An aerial view of motorists lined up to be tested for COVID-19 in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood. Pic/AFP

Urgent calls for field hospitals. Cars lined up for hours at drive-through testing centres. Bars boarded up and grocery stores enforcing masks.

Texas today resembles the state in the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic. Except now, the outbreak is far worse.Records for COVID-19-related deaths and hospitalisations are set almost daily. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who on Friday extended a statewide disaster order first issued in March, is now telling the public to brace for what's ahead.

"Things will get worse," Abbott told Lubbock television station KLBK. "The worst is yet to come as we work our way through that massive increase in people testing positive."

On Friday, Texas surpassed 10k hospitalised patients for the first time, capping a week of grim markers that also saw the state exceed 10k new cases in a single day. And it has been the deadliest week of the pandemic in Texas, with 95 new deaths reported on Friday.

"Several months ago, I warned of a potential tsunami if we did not take this more seriously," said Hidalgo County Judge Richard Cortez, the top official in one of the largest counties on the Texas-Mexico border. Since Monday, at least 31 people there have died due to COVID-19. "The tsunami is here," he said. The escalating crisis led members of Texas' congressional delegation to ask Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for a field hospital in the Rio Grande Valley as soon as possible.

'Unknown pneumonia' in Kazakhstan could be COVID-19, says WHO

LONDON: The emergencies chief of the World Health Organisation says the agency believes an unexplained pneumonia outbreak in Kazakhstan is likely due to the Coronavirus. Dr Michael Ryan says Kazakh authorities have reported more than 10,000 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last week and just under 50,000 cases and 264 deaths as of Tuesday. "We're looking at the actual testing and the quality of testing to make sure that there haven't been false negative tests for some of those other pneumonias that are provisionally tested negative," Ryan said. He added that many pneumonia cases were likely to be COVID-19 and "just have not been diagnosed correctly."

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