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People in El Paso load bodies wrapped in plastic into a refrigerated temporary morgue trailer on Nov. 16. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Members of the Texas National Guard have been deployed to El Paso County to support the region's morgue operations, as the county undergoes a "spike in deaths" related to COVID-19, El Paso Mayor Dee Margo announced.

The backdrop: Texas became the first state to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases earlier this month.

  • The team of 36 National Guard troops was mobilized Saturday morning. It will "provide mortuary affairs support," a spokesperson for the Texas Division of Emergency Management told CNN.

What they're saying: "As we've seen a rapid increase in cases and hospitalizations, we are unfortunately also seeing a spike in deaths," Margo said.

  • "We have been working closely with funeral homes and mortuaries to assist with increased capacity and coordination of resources."
  • "The Texas military will provide us with the critical personnel to carry out our fatality management plan and we are very grateful to them for their ongoing support."

The big picture: Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have accelerated across the country heading into the holidays. The number of hospitalizations reached a new peak of 83,227 on Saturday, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

Go deeper: Why we're numb to 250,000 coronavirus deaths

Go deeper

Updated 21 hours ago - Sports

NFL reschedules Thanksgiving matchup for second time due to COVID outbreak

Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images

The NFL has once again postponed a Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup originally scheduled for primetime on Thanksgiving day due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Why it matters: It's the first time the league has had to scrap a game since October, as the U.S. copes with another surge in coronavirus infections heading into the holidays.

22 hours ago - Health

WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release"

A medical syringe and vial with fake coronavirus vaccine in front of the World Health Organization (WHO) logo. Photo Illustration: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Top scientists at the World Health Organization on Friday called for more detailed information on a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford.

Why it matters: Oxford and AstraZeneca have said the vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses. AstraZeneca has since acknowledged that the smaller dose received by some participants was the result of an error by a contractor, per the New York Times.

In photos: Black Friday shopping across the U.S.

Customers shop at Macys on Nov. 27 in New York City. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

Many Americans braved shopping malls and department stores to shop in-person on Black Friday.

Why it matters: Coronavirus infections are still on the rise across much of the U.S. during a season of travel and holiday gatherings. Hospitals across the country, especially in rural areas, are still overwhelmed.