Thursday, 26 Nov 2020

Texas uses refrigerated lorries as morgues as Covid cases top 1,100,000

Refrigerated lorries are being used as morgues in Texas after the state topped 1.1 million coronavirus cases.

The El Paso county morgue reached out to the Sheriff’s Department for help after it became ‘overwhelmed’ with bodies, with the state surpassing 20,000 confirmed deaths this week – the second highest total behind New York.

Despite the worrying surge, Texan leaders have given no indication of forthcoming restrictions to keep people from gathering and spreading the virus.

Republican Governor Greg Abbott has instead been emphasising that new therapeutics and vaccines will become available soon.

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A state appeals court last week lifted a local shutdown order in El Paso, as inmates of the county’s detention facility were asked to help at the morgue for ‘$2 an hour’.

Texas became America’s first state to record more than one million confirmed Covid-19 cases last week.

The true number of infections is likely higher because many people haven’t been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

During the summer, people with Covid-19 overwhelmed hospitals in Houston and in the Rio Grande Valley, along the border with Mexico.

But case numbers dipped in the autumn, with Governor Abbott relaxing some coronavirus restrictions and allowing restaurants and gyms to let more people inside.

He also let county leaders decide if they wanted to reopen bars at 50% capacity. Since then, the virus has spread.

Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 3,430 – an increase of 54%.

Texas now ranks 31st in the country for new cases per capita, with 428.3 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. One in every 417 people in Texas tested positive in the past week.

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