In Houston, front-line workers say COVID-19 surge affecting many younger people

Coronavirus hospitalizations have grown in nearly half the states, including in Texas, where doctors say non-compliance with social distancing and masks has led to more people becoming ill.
8:22 | 06/26/20

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Transcript for In Houston, front-line workers say COVID-19 surge affecting many younger people
The patients that we are transporting are some of the sickest of the sick covid patients that are out there. There's always an element of a higher level of fear, there's always an element of a time factor. Texas breaking a record. Here in California are skyrocketing. Department of health reporting a worrisome increase in the number of positive tests. It's like stepping back in the crisis we hoped was fading once again in clear focus. We may be tired of the virus, but as someone said, the virus is not tired of us. Cases on the rise in at least 29 states. Hospitalizations up in 23 as public health officials struggle to control the sudden surges. We assume covid until proven otherwise. And in the last 24 hours, nearly 39,000 new cases in the U.S., the CDC warning the actual numbers may be ten times higher than reported, predicting up to 150,000 deaths by July 18th. In Florida, long lines for testing, as cases there soar. California shattering records. L.A. County now the highest infection rate in the nation. And in Texas, the governor calling the outbreak there massive, today hitting the pause button on the state's reopening. Officials calling out complacency and non-compliance as they race against time. We don't necessarily have states that are operating with evidence-based decisions. And so they're getting mixed messages. Tonight front line workers taking us inside, describing the change in face of the covid surge. Young people. We're seeing much more less than 50 years old, and they are being admitted. Anyone who believes that this disease is not real, it's definitely real. It's no joke. Just three weeks ago, Houston resident shamoan thought the worst was in the rear view and like many in her city, went out after the city reopened for a girls night and birthday party with friends. Were you and your friends at all concerned about going out in public to bars, restaurants, packed spaces? Of course, we definitely concerned, but we trying to be as safe as possible. So the restaurant we went to, they had the tables separated, so it was just six of us at the table. You thought based on the rules at the time that you guys were fine. Right, exactly. A few days later, she attended one of the George Floyd protests in support of black lives matter. The very next day, you developed symptoms. Did you think was covid? No, I was like, oh, maybe this is a summer flu or just a little bug or something. But as the day went on I got more sicker. And more symptoms started to come in, I realized it may possibility be covid. The first three days I literally did not leave the bed. I did not eat. I was literally like walking hunched over, because I was in so much pain. My body was, I was freezing cold, but my body was hot, and I had chills. Now she's using her story as a cautionary tale. I have literally been telling my friends, if y'all want to see me come somewhere I need to see y'all's current negative test results. If you don't wear the mask you may lose your life. Despite being a point of contention for some, a new study suggested that if the majority of Americans wore masks, it could save 33,000 lives through the fall. In the last two to three weeks, what we have noticed in this state, in this city, I am reporting cases, six, seven, eight, 900 in one case over 1,000 cases in a day. Mayor Sylvester turner saying while the death rate remains low compared to other cities, Houston must step up and clamp down to combat the rising tide. That's what has occurred when you're bringing people back together, when you're not following the proper procedures, people not wearing their mask, they're not engaged in social distancing, they're not exercising proper hygiene. We fell off the horse, and now we got to get back on the horse. Yesterday mayor turner warning businesses to monitor their crowd flow. We're looking at creating what I would call a board of shame and identifying those businesses that are really working against the rules. When you ignore the social distancing and you come together, you are fueling this virus. When you are walking around and you're not putting on your, on your, on your mask, when you're not engaged in proper hygiene, you are fueling, you are fueling the virus. It never went away. It was, it was, it was never gone in the city of Houston. We have gone through a lull of not making many covids it seemed like, and now we're making more covids on a daily basis. Daniel Soto is a supervising captain with the Houston fire department. He spoke with my colleague, Tom llamas. You're talking about doing cpr on somebody who has covid, what's going through your mind? Well, we suspect everyone has covid, especially if we can't speak to them or ask them what kind of symptoms they have. If they are in arrest and you need to get down and do cpr to save their life. Today I made two runs, the first one was a cardiac arrest, a young man who needed cpr and potential covid. So we don't know for sure he had covid, but the family had said that he'd had a cough for several days as well as body fatigue. Definitely on the lookout. The young lady. She's 35. She's all young. All young. 35 is young. They're all babies, you know. At Houston methodist, one of the largest hospitals in the city, doctors have been surprised by the change in the patient population, the first surge they saw this spring. These people don't get admitted, and they are otherwise healthy. Dr. Masued is the medical director of critical care. If they had followed all the social distancing and mask, they would never be in the hospital. Don't look great, Eric still want its us to push for ex-tubation since she's young. She's also seeing anoer disturbing trend. We're seeing families. So it's not just a husband, you know, who's ill and the spouse is at home. We're seeing a husband, the spouse, the sisters, the whole family is being coming up positive with the covid. You're seeing entire families test positive. That is correct. And now are in the hospital. Yes, that is correct. And what hurts the most, Riley says is that so many of these infections may have been preventible. The hardest part is just the compliance of the community and they're just not getting it. I ask anybody to come walk in my shoes for one day and just see what I see. You know, when you have a patient in the critical care, and unfortunately, when they don't survive, knowing that we did everything we possibly could to restore their, okay, you're going to make me cry now. I have a hard time talking about it. This is the hardest part about the whole thing. I'm sorry. We're so used to comforting and having the families at the bedside and just giving them that additional support that they need and just not being able to do that or have them there with the patient, it's hard. So we've become part of their family to make sure that their loved one is dying peacefully and getting through this.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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