More than one million Coronavirus cases have been reported in Texas, the US and over 19,300 people have died, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. While the state hospitals became overwhelmed by the rising fatalities, a video went viral on social media that shows dire virus problems.
The chilling video, shared on Twitter by American epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, shows prisoners removing the dead bodies of Coronavirus patients who have died from Covid-19 in Texas. It also shows the inmates wheeling out those bodies into truck containers, which are kind of mobile morgues.
The epidemiologist who shared the horrific video explained that the truck containers were "overflown morgues". According to him, there were 10 such trucks parked in the area after the El Paso hospital added six more vehicles earlier this week.
Removing Dead Bodies
In the Tweet, Dr. Feigl-Ding wrote that those inmates wore PPEs and receiving a payment of $2 per hour. "They've been doing this tough work since Monday before El Paso increased to 10 mobile morgues. I cry for El Paso," he added.
Dr. Cleavon Gilman, a doctor from New York City who has been treating Coronavirus patients, called it an example of modern-day "slavery". He tagged the Texas governor Greg Abbott and tweeted, "PRISON SLAVERY! Over 230 inmates have died from Covid in Texas. 80 percent of them were in pretrial detention and hadn't even been convicted of a crime. In addition, 58 percent of Texas prisoners who died from COVID were eligible for parole."
There is nothing hidden about the current situation of the country as well as Texas. The Republican state has been struggling to control the virus spread and on Wednesday, November 11, it crossed one million cases, becoming the first American state to pass that mark since the pandemic began. Later, reports also revealed that the coronavirus has spread to one million Californians.
A Twitter user commented on the video saying that it is "infuriating as it is terrifying," and added, "from expecting inmates to risk their health and wellbeing for chattel wages to the gross indifference political leaders display as bodies stack higher and higher and corporations make record returns off all this misery. Something better change."
According to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and County Judge Ricardo Samaniego, these prisoners are helping to remove the dead bodies as the morgues are currently overwhelmed in the city. Samaniego told ABC 7 that it is only temporary until the Texas National Guard arrives to assist. As per the El Paso County Detention Facility, almost four to eight inmates are now helping to remove the bodies every day.
A study conducted by the University of Texas at Austin, "COVID and Corrections: A Profile of COVID Deaths in Custody in Texas", found that many prisoners have died behind bars due to the Coronavirus, and many of them have not been convicted of an offense. According to the research 231 people had died from coronavirus in Texas jails and it includes staff and inmates. Among them, 80 percent were not convicted of a crime and 58 percent were eligible for parole.