US Hospitals “Overwhelmed” as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Surge
By Staff, Agencies
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner warned Sunday that the Texas city’s hospital system is becoming “overwhelmed” with COVID-19 cases. Meanwhile, Arizona’s intensive care units [ICUs] are near full capacity.
“If we don't get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble,” Turner said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.
“This virus is an equal opportunity abuser. It will inflict anyone who comes in close proximity with it. Now it's having a [disproportionate] impact on people of color. And right now, it's especially within the Hispanic community. But we are having young people being impacted as well,” Turner added.
Texas is one of several US states experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases. The latest data by the Texas Department of State Health Services shows that that the state has experienced a steady rise in COVID-19 cases since June. On Monday, 5,318 new cases of the virus were reported.
According to Turner, 1 every 4 people tested in Houston are currently testing positive for the virus, compared to just 1 in 10 people a month ago.
Turner also stated that the spike in COVID-19 cases in the city is due to reopening the state too fast.
“From the beginning, when we started opening too quickly, and when you layer that on top of everything else, all the other activities that were taking place and people starting to re-socialize, then you started to refuel the virus. And that's when the numbers started to increase,” he noted.
Similarly, the Arizona Department of Health Services revealed Friday that ICUs in the state were at 91% capacity due to the rampant increase in COVID-19 cases. By Sunday, capacity had dropped to 89%.
In response to the surging cases, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey on June 29 signed an executive order prohibiting large gatherings and pausing the reopening of bars, gyms, movie theaters and waterparks.
“We can pause, and our aspirational goal is to get these establishments reopened in 30 days with enforcement by county health officials, but we’re going to be monitoring the data along the way, and we’re going to do everything necessary to protect public health. We’re also going to limit mass gatherings, so indoor and outdoor public events of 15 or more will be prohibited,” Ducey said in a June 29 news conference.
The governor added that many of the new cases in Arizona are among younger people.
“We are seeing a different spread of the virus at this time in the United States and in Arizona versus what we became so familiar with on the East Coast in March and April. We're seeing increases in young people, and in Arizona that's making up a large portion of our new cases,” Ducey said.
Other states have continued to back out of their previous re-openings, including California, which shuttered bars and restaurants in several counties amid a 55,000-case surge last week. On Monday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced further shutdowns in counties across the state.