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Houston mayor: Hospitals will be overwhelmed 'if we don't get our hands around this virus quickly'

Houston mayor: Hospitals will be overwhelmed 'if we don't get our hands around this virus quickly'
© BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Houston Mayor Sylvester TurnerSylvester TurnerHouston mayor warns of 0 fine for not wearing face mask Houston mayor proposes 2-week shutdown 'at the minimum' to quell COVID-19 spread Texas Republicans sue Houston mayor over canceled convention MORE (D) pushed back on President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE’s characterization of the coronavirus as “harmless” in 99 percent of cases, saying on Sunday the city’s hospitals could be overwhelmed “if we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly.”

“If we don’t get our hands around this virus quickly, our hospitals could be in serious, serious trouble,” Turner said on CBS’s “Face the Nation." “The major problem is staffing … we can always provide additional beds, but we need the people, the nurses and everybody else in the medical profession to staff those beds.”

Asked by host Margaret Brennan whether any communities were being disproportionately affected by the city’s outbreak, Turner responded: “This virus is an equal opportunity abuser [but] it’s having a disproportionate impact on people of color and right now especially within the Hispanic community,” noting that he had also seen cases such as “a young woman in her 20s with no underlying medical condition” who died from the virus.

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“At the end of April, the beginning of May, our numbers were relatively low … I said then [Texas was] reopening too quickly, too fast,” Turner added.

Texas was one of the first states to begin the reopening process, with Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in some cases overruling local officials on restrictions tighter than those of the state.

Turner warned not only of the increase in cases, but the increasing rate of positive tests.

“A month ago, one in 10 tested positive, today we’re looking at almost like 1 in 4,” he said.