Photos show what it's like inside a Houston hospital right now, where coronavirus cases are skyrocketing and ICUs are nearly full

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesHealthcare workers move a patient in the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas Thursday, July 2, 2020.
  • Coronavirus cases and deaths are skyrocketing across Texas, and Houston has become one of the worst-hit cities.
  • Hospitalizations have more than doubled throughout the state in the past two weeks, with nearly 80% of beds in use. Authorities predict Houston hospitals and ICUs will become overwhelmed in the coming days.
  • On Thursday, Texas reported the second day in a row of more than 100 coronavirus deaths, and the second time it surpassed a record of 10,0000 new daily cases.
  • These photos show the harrowing reality of what it looks like inside a Houston hospital right now.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have skyrocketed throughout the Lone Star state in the past two weeks, and Houston has become one of the hardest hit areas.

On Thursday, Texas recorded its second day in a row of 100 coronavirus deaths, and the second time is surpassed a sweeping record of 10,000 new daily cases. In Houston, more than 40,000 cases have been confirmed and at least 603 people have died, according to local media.

The situation is so grim that leaders throughout Houston’s Harris County predict that hospitals and intensive care units could become overwhelmed in the coming days.

These photos show what life looks like inside a Houston hospital right now, as healthcare workers fight to save lives and hospitals face the burden of limited space.


At United Memorial Medical Centre in northern Houston, hospital beds are increasingly being dedicated to coronavirus patients.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesHealthcare workers lift a patient from one bed to another as they move him into a less intensive unit from the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas Thursday, July 2, 2020.

Source: AP


As of Tuesday, 88 of 117 beds are being used to treat COVID-19 patients, and the hospital is considering transforming itself into a coronavirus-only facility, AP reported.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesHealthcare workers move a patient in the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas Thursday, July 2, 2020.

Source: AP


The number of severe COVID-19 patients has surged in recent weeks, leaving healthcare workers to face a harrowing level of death.

AP Photo/David J. PhillipDr. Joseph Varon, top with JV on shield, leads a team as they tried without success to save the life of a patient inside the Coronavirus Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Houston.

In extreme cases, patients are being put on ventilators and moved into Intensive Care Units. One doctor told local media, “Seeing these patients that can’t come off of the ventilator. The pneumonia has affected their lungs. They feel they can’t breatheā€¦ and never leaving that hospital until you’re in a body bag.”

Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesPutting a patient on a ventilator is a last resort. Dr. Joseph Varon, centre, does emergency treatment on Terry Hill, age 65, after putting him on a ventilator assisted by his team of nurses and medical students.

Source: Click 2 Houston


Over the past two weeks, hospitalizations have soared throughout Texas, and Houston has become one of the hardest-hit areas.

Go Nakamura/Getty ImagesMembers of the medical staff transfer a patient to another room outside of the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Centre on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

Source: AP,Insider


Nearly 80% of beds are in use statewide, according to the AP, and Texas is reporting more than four times as many cases every day as it was in June.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesA healthcare worker tends to a patient in the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas, July 2, 2020.

Source: AP


So far, Houston has recorded more than 40,000 cases at least 603 deaths.

Go Nakamura/Getty ImagesMedical staff wearing full PPE wrap a deceased patient with bed sheets and a body bag in the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Centre on June 30, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

Source: Houston Chronicle


But those numbers might not be fully accurate. As coronavirus cases surge, an increasing number of Houston residents are dying in their homes, and those numbers aren’t always accounted for, ProPublica reported.

Go Nakamura/Getty ImagesMedical staff wearing full PPE push a stretcher with a deceased patient to a car outside of the Covid-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Centre on June 30, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

Source: ProPublica


With more and more patients dying, healthcare workers have expressed frustration over a lack of ability to help people. “Every effort that you can imagine, everything that has been written, we did, and yet we were unsuccessful,” one doctor told AP of a patient who died.

Go Nakamura/Getty ImagesA patient is connected to a ventilator and other medical devices in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Centre on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

Source: AP


The situation is becoming so grim that authorities predict Houston hospitals and ICUs could be overwhelmed in a matter of days.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesHealthcare workers push a patient into a less intensive unit from the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas on July 2, 2020.

Source: AP


In some cases, hospital beds are so limited that patients are being held in urgent care before transferring to the next available unit.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesHealthcare workers push a patient into a less intensive unit from the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas on July 2, 2020.

Source: AP


Though Texas leaders say there are still 12,000 beds left throughout the state, because the Lone Star state is so sprawling, those vacancies may not be able to accommodate people in areas where the virus is skyrocketing.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesHealthcare workers push a patient into a less intensive unit from the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas on July 2, 2020.

Source: AP


In order to help free up space, Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott banned elective surgeries in more than 100 counties across the state.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesA healthcare worker tends to a patient in the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas on July 2, 2020.

Source: Texas Tribune


Healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients have reported a lack of sleep and an exhausting emotional toll.

Go Nakamura/Getty ImagesMembers of the medical staff rest on a stretcher in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at the United Memorial Medical Centre on July 2, 2020 in Houston, Texas.

Source: Click 2 Houston


Here, a tired healthcare worker is seen resting against a colleague outside of the coronavirus unit.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesA healthcare worker closes her eyes and leans on her colleague to rest outside of the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas on July 2, 2020.

And this photo shows healthcare workers lending each other support and back rubs before going back to treating patients.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesA healthcare worker gives another a shoulder rub before they go back into the the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas, July 2, 2020.

For safety, United Memorial Medical Centre has sectioned off three wings of the hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesA healthcare worker zips up a protective barrier in the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas on July 2, 2020.

Source: AP


Each wing is tapered off with large tarps.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesA healthcare worker talks to another worker in the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas, July 2, 2020. –

Source: AP


Healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients are required to wear two sets of protective equipment (PPE). The AP’s Nomaan Merchant wrote that includes “two sets of masks, gowns, gloves, shoe and head coverings, and a face shield.”

AP Photo/David J. PhillipRegistered Nurse Candace Trammeor grabs shoe coverings inside the Coronavirus Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Houston.

Source: AP


Dr. Joseph Varon of United Memorial Medical Centre told the AP he has worked more than 100 days with only a few hours of sleep a night, and spends his spare time checking in on families and giving media interviews to spread word about the virus.

AP Photo/David J. PhillipDr. Joseph Varon leans on a medical cart inside the Coronavirus Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Houston.

Source: AP


“People need to see this so they can understand and won’t do stupid things,” he told AP from the hospital. “Every day, we have stuff like this. Every single day.”

AP Photo/David J. PhillipDr. Joseph Varon, centre, visits with Dorothy Webb, left, and her daughter, Tammie, while making his rounds inside the Coronavirus Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre, Monday, July 6, 2020, in Houston.

Source: AP


On Thursday, Texas reported its second straight day of more than 100 deaths, and the second time it surpassed 10,000 new cases.

MARK FELIX/AFP via Getty ImagesA healthcare worker high-fives a patient in the Covid-19 Unit at United Memorial Medical Centre in Houston, Texas, July 2, 2020.

Source: Houston Chronicle

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