November 12, 2020 -- Texas has become the first state to record 1 million coronavirus cases, according to stats recorded Wednesday by Johns Hopkins University.
Texas now has accounted for about a tenth of all the infections in the United States, which hit the 10 million mark in total cases on Monday. Even the most populous state in the nation, California, has fewer cases. California has reported 989,432 cases and Florida follows with 852,174.
On Tuesday, Texas recorded 10,865 new infections, the most ever in the state for a 24-hour period, according to the Texas Covid Dashboard. Fatalities have gone over 19,000, with 94 new deaths reported Tuesday.
The virus surged in Texas last spring after Gov. Greg Abbott aggressively reopened the state economy following weeks of shutdown. The governor resisted calling for a statewide face mask rule for months, but with cases spiking in July he signed an executive order requiring people to wear facial coverings in public places in counties with 20 or more coronavirus cases.
Despite orders such as the mask mandate, the virus has spread across the state, from the big cities like Houston into the rural areas.
El Paso, in the eastern tip of the state, has been hammered, with more than 65,000 cases and 680 deaths.
County Judge Ricardo Samaniego went so far as to request six more mobile morgues to handle the high number of autopsies, TV station KCIK reported. El Paso County already had four mobile morgues.
“It doesn’t look good,” Samaniego said. “It may be as much as 20 per day the next two to three weeks. There might be more and more an incline of deaths.”
Samaniego issued a countywide shutdown of all nonessential businesses, a move that’s being legally challenged by some businesses and the Texas Attorney General’s office, according to the El Paso Times. So far, the state Supreme Court has not intervened.
A report from the University of Texas said 231 people -- prisoners and staff members -- have died in the state prison system -- more than any other prison system in the nation.
"COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on prisons and jails across the country, and especially in Texas," Michele Deitch, the study's lead author, said in a news release about the report.