Joseph Varon, the doctor in charge of the COVID-19 unit at United Memorial Medical Center in north Houston, checks on a patient, May 6. Photo: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

97% of intensive care beds in Houston's Texas Medical Center are occupied as of Wednesday.

Why it matters: Houston is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Texas. The state reported a record number of coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, per the state health department — which is not purely due to expanded testing.

What's happening: Houston reported more than 987 new infections on Wednesday, Mayor Sylvester Turner said. He noted that 91% of the new infections come from tests that were conducted between June 14 and June 22. Seven additional people died from the coronavirus in Houston as of Wednesday evening.

  • Texas has reported over 125,000 infections and nearly 2,300 deaths overall, per the state health department.
  • Turner announced that Houston is asking FEMA to extend its testing commitment to the city beyond June 30. The agency currently runs two testing sites in the city.
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) urged Texans to stay home to fight the "rampant" spread of the virus on Tuesday.

Zoom in: 70% of the occupied ICU beds in the Texas Medical Center system are currently taken by non-coronavirus patients, while 27% are occupied by people who have tested positive for COVID-19.

Go deeper: Coronavirus curve rises in Florida and Texas

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The states where face coverings are mandatory

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Face masks will be required in Vermont's public areas starting Aug. 1 where social distancing is not possible, the state's health department announced.

The big picture: More than 30 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, have issued some form of mask mandate as new infections surge across the country.

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World coronavirus updates: Global cases top 18 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

The number of novel coronavirus cases surged past 18 million globally on Sunday night, Johns Hopkins data shows.

By the numbers: More than 688,300 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide. Over 10.6 million have recovered.

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The confounding range of COVID-19 symptoms

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The wide-ranging symptoms and many manifestations of COVID-19 are complicating efforts to treat the disease and stop its spread.

The big picture: There are very few diseases that everyone experiences the same. But the patterns of disease with COVID-19 are unusual compared to other recent pandemics, and it could usher in a new framework for thinking about disease.