The Houston hospital system is at serious risk of being completely overwhelmed by a record spike in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Sylvester Turner said Sunday.
“The number of people who are getting sick and going to the hospitals has exponentially increased,” Turner, a Democrat, said on CBS’ “Face The Nation.” “The number of people in our ICU beds has exponentially increased. ... If we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble ... overwhelmed.”
The issue, said Turner, is health care workers. “We can always provide additional beds, but we need the people, the nurses ... the medical professionals to staff those beds. That’s the critical point right now.”
An astonishing one in every four people in the city tested for COVID-19 is now testing positive for the disease, he said. Just a month ago, that figure was one in every 10 people.
Forty states are experiencing increases in cases, but Texas, Florida and Arizona have been particularly hard hit.
The situation in Texas is so dire that the state has frozen plans to reopen the economy and is reimposing restrictions on businesses in a bid to help stem the rapid spread of the disease.
Turner said the state tried to race back to normal activity far too soon.
“We were opening too quickly, too fast,” he said. “If you look at the second week in May going forward, the numbers started to increase. When you layer that on top of everything else, all the other activities that were taking place, and people starting to resocialize, then you started to refuel the virus.”
In mid-May Houston tallied an average of nearly 250 new cases daily. By the last week of June, that number soared to 1,600.
Both Florida and Texas reported their biggest daily increase in new cases over the past few days, with Florida tallying 11,443 new cases and Texas reporting a record 8,258 new cases.
There have been more than 2.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and 129,000 deaths.