Texas testing centers drowning under virus wave

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by Julia Benarrous

Armed with blankets and pillows, Texans wait in their cars for hours outside a testing center in Houston, one of the new COVID-19 epicenters in the US.

“I’ve been here since three in the morning,” said Maria Solis to AFP. The 22-year-old has come to get tested for a second time, after her first came back positive, prompting her to quarantine for 14 days.

In two weeks, the situation in Houston, the fourth-largest city in the United States, has sharply declined — as seen outside the United Memorial Medical Center Tidwell, a hospital in a residential neighborhood in north Houston.

“When I first got tested, there were no lines whatsoever and that was maybe two weeks ago,” Solis said.

“I just went inside and it was maybe three cars, and now it’s a big growing number. It’s kind of scary.”

The spread of the coronavirus in Texas has taken a “swift and very dangerous turn,” according to Republican governor Greg Abbott.

Everyone is watching the rate of infection, which is currently at 14 percent — double what it was at the beginning of June.

Concerns have become so great that Houston is often compared to New York city, which has three times as many residents, at the start of the pandemic.

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