Texas alarm for covid-19 outbreak in babies 4:42
(CNN) - Coronavirus cases in Texas have risen to more than 418,000, putting the state on a higher case count than in New York.
New York, once the American epicenter of the pandemic, now ranks fourth in the total case count behind California, Florida, and Texas, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Frontline medical teams in Texas said the spikes in the state have taken their toll.
"It is very difficult. We are seeing entire families in our communities devastated by the virus, ”said Dr. Martin Schwartz, who treats patients in intensive care units. "Many deaths within a single family. It's terrible".
- Covid-19 in Texas: the state faces a 'tsunami' of patients and hospitals overwhelmed
The main epicenter in the state is the Rio Grande Valley, where hospitals began to reach their maximum capacity earlier this month.
Health officials say the pandemic is wreaking havoc on Hidalgo County communities.
"It is a tsunami that we are 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 15-20 that a critical care doctor sees on a shift.
Texas was one of the first states to reopen in May, but Gov. Greg Abbott announced a hiatus for any reopening in June when cases increased. Texas is now one of 41 states that mandatorily implement a mask in some way to protect against the spread of the virus.
Although many health experts emphasize the importance of wearing masks to protect against the spread of the virus, their use has been debated in the public.
- More than 60 young people, who took a spring break trip to a Mexican resort, were diagnosed with coronavirus in Texas
Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, who has frequently refused to wear a mask, tested positive for coronavirus.
Gohmert told CNN last month that he was not wearing a mask because he had been tested and did not yet have the virus. "But if I catch it, you will never see me without a mask," he said. But he started wearing a mask especially in the past two weeks, he said.
Gohmert told KETK on Wednesday that he may have contracted coronavirus by misusing his mask.
"I can't help but think that if I hadn't worn a mask in the last 10 days or so, I really wonder if I would have been infected," added Gohmert. “You know, moving the mask, doing the right thing, we are meant to put a little virus on the mask. That is very likely to have happened. ”
While the incorrect use of a mask can expose a person to the virus, experts say it spreads mainly from person to person.
- CNN's Ed Lavandera, Haley Brink and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.