Texas becomes first state in US to reach 1 million coronavirus cases

US enters ‘worst period’ since onset of outbreak with seven-day streak of 100,000 daily cases and record-breaking current hospitalisations

Alex Woodward
New York
Wednesday 11 November 2020 14:36 GMT
Biden task force member warns 'we're about to enter Covid hell'

More than 1 million cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Texas since the onset of the outbreak, which has infected more than 10.2 million Americans and killed nearly 240,000 people.

The state has recorded more than 19,000 Covid-19-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Texas, with a population of roughly 29 million, would be ranked in the top 15 most highly-infected nations if it were classed as a country.

Health officials in Texas reported an additional 10,865 cases on Tuesday, setting a new daily case record in the state. 

The US also broke its single-day case count, with more than 131,000 infections, as the nation continued a seven-day streak of at least 100,000 cases reported each day. More than 1 million cases were reported within 10 days from the end of October until 8 November.

California is also approaching 1 million cases, with more than 990,000 reported cases as of Wednesday.

Covid-19-related deaths also are rising across the US. Tuesday’s death toll – at least 1,347 lives – is the nation’s highest since August, pushing the seven-day average to roughly 1,000 daily deaths from the disease.

The US also is hospitalising a record number of coronavirus patients. At least 62,000 people were in hospital on Tuesday.

"For context, there are now 40 per cent more people hospitalised with Covid-19 than there were two weeks ago," according to the Covid Tracking Project’s weekly update published on 11 November.

Seventeen states have reached their current peaks for hospitalisation, with Texas hospitals – along with hospitals in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin – facing the “brink of being overwhelmed” or at capacity, the Covid Tracking Project reported.

With overstressed healthcare systems and growing infections that show no signs of slowing as the US heads into a critical fall and flu season, “the new hospitalisation record underscores that we’ve entered the worst period for the pandemic since the original outbreak,” the organisation reported on Wednesday.

The concentration of hospitalisation rates in the US Midwest offers “no indication that there is an end in sight to the outbreaks in the region.”

Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins said that the Texas county’s outbreak is “spiking dangerously” and as close as a seven days from its highest hospitalisation rates to date “if we do not immediately renew our resolve and change our behaviors".

“We are entering the most dangerous phase we have seen to date in the Covid crisis," he said on Tuesday.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the state plans to "swiftly distribute medicines and vaccines" to residents, though a potential vaccine is still months away from distribution to general populations.

On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration authorised Eli Lilly’s bamlanivimab to treat people infected with the virus, which could prevent hospitalisations. The drug is authorised for high-risk patients, including people aged 65 and older and patients with pre-existing medical conditions.

Roughly 80,000 doses are expected to be distributed across the US.

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