Coronavirus cases in Texas have risen to more than 418,000, putting the state at a higher case count than New York.
Once the US epicenter of the pandemic, New York now ranks fourth in total case count behind California, Florida and Texas, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Medical teams on the frontlines in Texas said that spikes in the state have taken a toll.
“It’s very hard. We’re seeing entire families in our communities ravaged by the virus,” said Dr. Martin Schwartz, who treats patients in intensive care units. “A lot of deaths inside one single family. It’s terrible.”
The main hotspot in the state has been the Rio Grande Valley, where hospitals began reaching capacity earlier this month.
Health officials say the pandemic is wreaking havoc on communities in Hidalgo County.
“It’s a tsunami what we’re seeing right now,” said Dr. Federico Vallejo, a critical care pulmonologist. He told CNN last week that he is treating up to 70 patients a day compared to the usual 15 to 20 a critical care doctor sees during a rotation.
Texas was one of the first states to reopen in May, but Gov. Greg Abbott announced a pause to any further reopening in June when cases surged. Now Texas is one of the 41 states to implement mask requirements in some form to protect against the virus’s spread.