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Covid-19 pushes US hospitals to the brink

A medical worker puts on protective equipment as hospital staff treat Covid-19 patients at United Memorial Medical Center's coronavirus disease intensive care unit in Houston, Texas, US, June 29, 2020.
A medical worker puts on protective equipment as hospital staff treat Covid-19 patients at United Memorial Medical Center's coronavirus disease intensive care unit in Houston, Texas, US, June 29, 2020. © Callaghan O'Hare, Reuters
2 min

Officials warned on Sunday that US hospitals were in danger of being overwhelmed by the upsurge in cases as countries around the world are battling surges in the coronavirus, with more than 11 million people now infected in 196 countries and territories.

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The US has struggled to respond to the devastation wrought by the virus, with its national death toll rising to near 130,000 out of 2.8 million confirmed cases, and many states hit by increasing infections after lockdowns were eased.

Hospital beds are full in parts of Texas, while calls for fresh stay-at-home orders are growing. Some mayors say their cities reopened too early, as President Donald Trump tries to downplay the disease that has gripped much of the country.

Across the US, the annual July 4 holiday weekend was overshadowed by growing evidence that the country’s fractured response has exacted a heavy price across the south and west, after previous hotspots such as New York emerged from the worst of the virus.

"Our hospitals here in Harris County, Houston, and 33 other cities... they're into surge capacities. So their operational beds are taken up," said Lina Hidalgo, chief executive of Harris County, which includes Houston, Texas.

"Restaurants are still open. Indoor events can take place no matter the size," she told the ABC TV channel. "What we need right now is to do what works, which is a stay-home order."

Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, also expressed concern that the healthcare system could buckle as the disease spreads rapidly.

"If we don't change the trajectory, then I am within two weeks of having our hospitals overrun. And in our ICUs, I could be 10 days away from that," he told CNN.

Phoenix city mayor Kate Gallego said, "We opened way too early in Arizona" state. She suggested that a new stay-at-home order should be issued.

The US is now recording 40,000 new cases a day, with a peak of 57,000 on Friday alone.

The pandemic has killed at least 531,789 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally on Sunday based on official sources.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

 

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