Photos: Covid-19 deaths overwhelm Texas; inmates help morgues

UPDATED ON NOV 19, 2020 06:01 PM IST
An El Paso County Sheriff’s Officer tries to block photographs from being taken as bodies are moved to refrigerated trailers outside the Medical Examiner’s Office in El Paso, Texas on November 16. The state of Texas’s death toll from coronavirus infection has crossed 20,000 – chalking up America’s second highest number of deaths and trailing only New York. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / REUTERS)
El Paso County detention inmates help move bodies to refrigerated trailers outside the Medical Examiner's Office which is located next to a cemetery in El Paso on November 16. In the border city of El Paso, overwhelmed morgues have begun paying jail inmates $2 an hour to help transport the bodies of Covid-19 victims. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / REUTERS)
Low-level inmates load bodies of Covid-19 victims into a refrigerated morgue trailer in El Paso on November 16. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 3,430.4 --an increase of 53.6%. (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)
Members of Mesa Place Church pray outside University Medical Center of El Paso amid the coronavirus in Texas on November 15. Texas has also become America’s first state to record more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, after surpassing California’s tally of cases last week. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / REUTERS)
A shop advertises masks for sale in English and Spanish in El Paso on November 17. Daily infections have risen nationwide more than 80% over the past two weeks. The surge is leading governors and mayors across the US to grudgingly issue mask mandates, limit the size of gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving, and reinforce curbs on stores and other businesses. (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)
Emergency overflow tents are pictured outside of the UMC Hospitals in El Paso, Texas on November 16. The crush of patients is forcing the city to send its non- Covid-19 cases to hospitals elsewhere in the state. (Justin Hamel / AFP)
Medical staff enter the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston on November 16. Texas is rushing thousands of additional medical staff to overworked hospitals as the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients statewide accelerates toward 8,000 for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak. (Go Nakamura / Getty Images / AFP)
Men walk towards a grocery store to shop downtown on November 17 in El Paso. According to the AP, Texas now ranks 31st in the country for new cases per capita, with 428.3 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. One in every 417 people in Texas tested positive in the past week. (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

An El Paso County Sheriff’s Officer tries to block photographs from being taken as bodies are moved to refrigerated trailers outside the Medical Examiner’s Office in El Paso, Texas on November 16. The state of Texas’s death toll from coronavirus infection has crossed 20,000 – chalking up America’s second highest number of deaths and trailing only New York. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / REUTERS)

El Paso County detention inmates help move bodies to refrigerated trailers outside the Medical Examiner's Office which is located next to a cemetery in El Paso on November 16. In the border city of El Paso, overwhelmed morgues have begun paying jail inmates $2 an hour to help transport the bodies of Covid-19 victims. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / REUTERS)

Low-level inmates load bodies of Covid-19 victims into a refrigerated morgue trailer in El Paso on November 16. Over the past two weeks, the rolling average number of daily new cases has increased by 3,430.4 --an increase of 53.6%. (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

Members of Mesa Place Church pray outside University Medical Center of El Paso amid the coronavirus in Texas on November 15. Texas has also become America’s first state to record more than 1 million confirmed coronavirus cases, after surpassing California’s tally of cases last week. (Ivan Pierre Aguirre / REUTERS)

A shop advertises masks for sale in English and Spanish in El Paso on November 17. Daily infections have risen nationwide more than 80% over the past two weeks. The surge is leading governors and mayors across the US to grudgingly issue mask mandates, limit the size of gatherings ahead of Thanksgiving, and reinforce curbs on stores and other businesses. (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

Emergency overflow tents are pictured outside of the UMC Hospitals in El Paso, Texas on November 16. The crush of patients is forcing the city to send its non- Covid-19 cases to hospitals elsewhere in the state. (Justin Hamel / AFP)

Medical staff enter the Covid-19 intensive care unit (ICU) at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston on November 16. Texas is rushing thousands of additional medical staff to overworked hospitals as the number of hospitalized Covid-19 patients statewide accelerates toward 8,000 for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak. (Go Nakamura / Getty Images / AFP)

Men walk towards a grocery store to shop downtown on November 17 in El Paso. According to the AP, Texas now ranks 31st in the country for new cases per capita, with 428.3 new cases per 100,000 people over the past two weeks. One in every 417 people in Texas tested positive in the past week. (Mario Tama / Getty Images / AFP)

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Over 20,000 people have died of coronavirus infection in the US state of Texas as of November 19 – making it the state with the highest case count and second-highest number of deaths. Overwhelmed by hospitalizations and burdened under deaths, Texas is rushing to call in additional healthcare staff and has already resorted to employing inmates to assist in morgue duties in the border town of El Paso. Conditions in Texas are a reflection of the surge gripping the US as the coronavirus rages at an unrelenting pace and the death toll hits a quarter of a million.

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