Health care workers move a patient into the Covid-19 department of the United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, Thursday, July 2, 2020.
Hospitals in Houston, Texas are well on their way to being overwhelmed in about two weeks as more cases of coronavirus occur, Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Sunday.
"The number of people who get sick and go to hospitals has increased exponentially. The number of people in our intensive care beds has increased exponentially," said Turner in CBS's Face The Nation. "If we don't get this virus under control quickly, our hospital system could run into serious, serious problems in about two weeks."
Texas recorded a record number of new coronavirus cases on Saturday and reported 8,258 infected people within 24 hours. Nearly 200,000 in the state have tested positive, according to state health officials, including more than 35,000 in Harris County, which includes Houston. At least 2,608 people in the state have died from the disease.
In Houston, the percentage of tests where the virus comes back positive has risen to almost 25%. Turner said that colored people are disproportionately affected, especially Spanish residents.
Turner, a Democrat, said that the main problem with the hospitals in Houston is staffing, not the lack of beds.
"We can always provide extra beds, but we need the people, nurses, and everyone else, the healthcare professionals to fill those beds. That's the critical point right now," said Turner.
Daily new cases in the United States have risen sharply in recent weeks and are threatening the emerging economic recovery. The virus spread particularly quickly throughout the sun belt after reaching the northeast at the beginning of the year.
Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States with a population of approximately 2.3 million people, according to the Census Bureau.
Approximately 37 states, including Texas, are reporting increasing daily case numbers. Although the number of new cases has risen sharply, it remains unclear how high the mortality rate due to the new infections will be. In many states, health officials report that younger people make up a larger proportion of the sick.
Turner called Covid-19 "an abuser of equal opportunities," and said in Houston, "it affects everyone from 20 to 90."
"If you get together in close proximity, you will fire this virus," he said.
Greg Abbott, a Republican from Texas, interrupted the reopening of the state last month when infections increased and ordered that bars and restaurants be limited in capacity.
On Thursday, Abbott issued an order that required face coverings in public spaces and allowed local officials to impose restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people.
"We have the ability to keep companies open and drive our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but each of us must do our part to protect each other – and that means wearing a face mask in public places . " "Abbott said at the time.