HOUSTON — It's a shocking number.

3.28 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. It's a massive increase from the 282,000 unemployment claims just the prior week.

To put that in perspective, there are more people out of work now than Houston's entire population.

The numbers released by the Department of Labor are the highest number of unemployment claims since it started tracking the data in 1967. The previous high was 695,000 claims back in 1982.

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Behind those numbers are real people out of work. The data gives the first real glimpse at the damage COVID-19 is doing to the economy as so many businesses and industries come to a grinding halt.

Experts compare the impact to a devastating hurricane hitting every state around the country nonstop for weeks -- not just days.

Here in Texas there were 155,657 new unemployment claims. That's almost 10 times the total filed the prior week. The Texas Workforce Commission says that's about 30,000 a day, and their phones are blowing up around the clock. 100,000 calls were taken on Sunday alone. But more than 800,000 have been trying to get through.

That means it's likely today's numbers aren't a complete picture of just how many people are dealing with unemployment. There's growing concern millions more could be out of work before this is over.

Coronavirus symptoms

The symptoms of coronavirus can be similar to the flu or a bad cold. Symptoms include a fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Some patients also have nausea, body aches, headaches and stomach issues. Losing your sense of taste and/or smell can also be an early warning sign.

Most healthy people will have mild symptoms. A study of more than 72,000 patients by the Centers for Disease Control in China showed 80 percent of the cases there were mild.

But infections can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, according to the World Health Organization. Older people with underlying health conditions are most at risk for becoming seriously ill. However, U.S. experts are seeing a significant number of younger people being hospitalized, including some in ICU.

The CDC believes symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after being exposed.

Human coronaviruses are usually spread through...

  • The air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it, then touching your mouth, nose or eyes before washing your hands.

Help stop the spread of coronavirus

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Eat and sleep separately from your family members
  • Use different utensils and dishes
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm, not your hand.
  • If you use a tissue, throw it in the trash.
  • Follow social distancing

Lower your risk

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • If you are 60 or over and have an underlying health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or respiratory illnesses like asthma or COPD, the World Health Organization advises you to try to avoid crowds or places where you might interact with people who are sick.

Get complete coverage of the coronavirus by texting 'FACTS' to 713-526-1111.