Texas now has more COVID deaths than New York -- despite once trailing by 29,000
Bodies are moved to a refrigeration truck serving as a temporary morgue in New York, the main focus of the US outbreak, with more than 4,750 deaths. AFP / Bryan R. Smith.

At the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, New York served as the disease's ground zero in the United States, as it rapidly infected an unsuspecting public and quickly overwhelmed the state's hospitals.

At the time, states like Texas were far behind New York in terms of total statewide COVID-19 deaths, but the Houston Chronicle reports that the Lonestar State has now surpassed New York despite once trailing it by 29,000 total deaths.

Spencer Fox, associate director of the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, tells the Chronicle that he's not surprised that Texas has surpassed New York's death total given the two very different approaches they've taken to the pandemic.

"They enacted really strong, precautionary measures that overall are well based in the available science," Fox told the paper. "It seems that many of the Texas policies were put in place to try and prevent health care collapse rather than trying to prevent transmission."

Texas has now recorded 53,275 total COVID-19 deaths since the start of the pandemic, placing it only behind California, the nation's most populous state that has suffered 64,372 virus deaths.

Despite the current surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the delta variant of the virus, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has vowed to not put in any more restrictions aimed at lowering the spread of the disease.