Texas becomes first US state to surpass one million coronavirus cases


PTI, Nov 9, 2020, 1:23 PM IST

 

Houston: Texas has become the first US state to cross over a million coronavirus cases as President-elect Joe Biden is getting to work to battle the deadly virus which has infected more than 9.8 million people in the country.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Texas is one of the 31 states that has hit a record number of coronavirus cases this week. In Harris County, there are more than 167,000 cases and more than 2,300 deaths with the numbers climbing.

“We have to remember we’re still in the middle of a public health crisis. Now, it’s starting to creep back up into the 8 per cent range and that starts to concern us,” said Dr. Umair Shah, the executive director of Harris County Public Health.

The US is currently the world’s worst-hit nation from the pandemic and has had more than 9.8 million cases and over 237,000 deaths from the virus since the pandemic started in the central Chinese city of Wuhan last year.

Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker reported more than 50.2 million COVID-19 cases globally as of Sunday.

There have been more than 1.2 million deaths from the disease worldwide since the pandemic started.

President-elect Biden in his victory speech assured Americans that his first task is to get the raging coronavirus pandemic under control with a definite plan that will be “built on bedrock science.”

He also announced that on Monday he will form a group of leading scientists and experts to bring the pandemic under control.

Indian-American physician Dr Vivek Murthy is expected to co-chair the coronavirus task force.

Outgoing President Donald Trump has been accused of not listening to his own health experts on now to combat the deadly disease, allowing it to spread across the nation.

Biden on Sunday on his transition website posted about his plans to fight the coronavirus. His initial plan calls for doubling the number of testing sites, investing in rapid at-home tests, creating a nationwide pandemic dashboard and mobilizing 100,000 Americans for contact tracing.

His plan also calls for all governors to issue a mask mandate.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has already issued a mask mandate over the summer. It requires people to wear a face covering in public in counties with more than 20 confirmed positive cases.

Dr David Persse, the city of Houston’s health authority, said, “We still have opportunities to get this under control and drive those numbers down, but that’s going to be left up to the individual, it’s nothing the mayor, county judge, [or] governor can do.”

Persse said, “It’s painful when you have to have the governor lock things down. That hurts the economy, so let’s not get there. Let’s keep this under control with what we can do right now.”

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