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COVID-19 Recession in Texas

Photos of a state in crisis: Deserted highways, swamped food banks and health care workers at risk

COVID-19 has changed the world in ways few imagined possible. As the virus spread across the globe and found its way to Texas, Tribune journalists and photojournalists have been there every step of the way, documenting the changes the new coronavirus has brought into all our lives.

Downtown Austin during the COVID-19 pandemic on April 12, 2020.

Coronavirus in Texas

As the coronavirus spreads across the state, The Texas Tribune is covering the most important health, economic and breaking developments that affect Texans, every day. Watch our Texas unemployment tracker, use our explainer on the coronavirus for essential information, and visit our map tracker for the number of cases, deaths and tests in Texas.

 More in this series 

When we first reported on the new coronavirus in January, the official worldwide death tally was still relatively low and the virus was mostly confined overseas. Since then, the epidemic has exploded into a pandemic, and people in the U.S. have died by the hundreds, then thousands, then tens of thousands. Here in Texas, to slow its spread, millions stayed home. Once-vibrant city streets were deserted. Freeways in our largest cities, once packed with cars at all hours, were emptied of traffic. Smaller cities were no different.

The toll on our lives and our once-thriving economy has been extraordinary. Businesses large and small have shuttered — many for good. Millions of people have lost their jobs as the unemployment rate shot from historic lows to levels not seen since the Great Depression. At The Texas Tribune, our comprehensive coverage of the pandemic stays focused on the people who are affected — those who have become ill, their loved ones and the people who care for them. Behind every new report on the economy are Texans struggling to make ends meet, educate their children or continue working in the face of so many terrifying unknowns.

To help tell those stories, our photographers have ventured all over the state, with sensitivity and care for the safety of their fellow Texans — and themselves, too. Here are some of some of their images.

Memorial Hermann Southeast employees are greeted by dozens of people honking their horns and flashing their lights in appr...
Protesters at the State Capitol building defied city and state mandates of social distancing and mandatory face coverings ...
A handful of cars drive down Grant Avenue Thursday evening as an advertisement from Medical Center Hospital urges communit...
The Central Texas Food Bank hosts a food drive at the Toney Burger Activity Center in Austin on April 30, 2020.
At the Waco ISD stadium, thousands of people waited in line to receive disaster relief food boxes from the Central Texas F...
A volunteer coordinator prepares boxes of food at the Kelly Memorial Food Pantry in Central El Paso, which serves 700-1000...
Worshippers sing during an Easter service at the Glorious Way Church in Houston. Attendees maintained social distance duri...
An aerial view of Houston. Highways were empty as a result of the coronavirus outbreak . April 1, 2020.
A shortage of items inside of an H-E-B grocery store in Austin.
David Aguirre’s mother, Estela, died March 28 at The Waterford at College Station, an assisted living facility in Texas. H...
A sign over U.S. Route 54 in El Paso cautions social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ector County Health Department workers narrow down the numbers of contact exposures while the screen projects positive cas...
Montoya Thomas, 23, outside of her apartment in Houston on April 1, 2020. Thomas was recently let go of her bartending job...
G.W. Carver Middle School seventh grade student Tabitha Hawkins, 13, left, and mother Tobie release balloons in front of a...
Customers visit La Gran Plaza in Fort Worth on the first day that  shopping malls, restaurants, retail outlets and movie t...
Carly Eaves poses for a portrait at her parent's home on April 15,
A spray painted sign at Practice Yoga Austin in East Austin refers to the recent coronavirus outbreak that has impacted th...
Party Time Bar outside of Temple is closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A coronavirus related mural on Sixth Street in downtown Austin on April 12, 2020.
Shoppers line up with carts outside an H-E-B prior to opening. The COVID-19 outbreak has caused HEB to shorten its store h...
Medical personnel walk along an elevated walkway at the Dell Seton Medical Center on March 30, 2020.
Nurses Amber Phillips, left, and Kristen Howell administer COVID-19 tests at the Austin Regional Clinic drive-up testing c...

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