Wednesday, October 20, 2021

GET ME REWRITE: In 2nd year of pandemic, Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis duke it out for COVIDIOT of the Year honors





Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/19/2021
As of Oct. 17, 17.6 million people have received at least one dose, which is 60.3% of Texas’ population, and 15.2 million people, or 52.2%, are fully vaccinated. A total of 32.5 million doses have been administered, including booster shots. So far, 933,917 people have gotten booster shots.

Texas regained the top spot on the leaderboard yesterday.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 120 deaths per day 



October 19 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/18/2021

Greg Abbott.  Smacked down by the Texas business community.
Signs that the legislation was in trouble came early as business groups spoke out against the proposals. Even though the issue had been added to the session agenda as a late priority by Gov. Greg Abbott, the House's version of the bill was unable to muster enough support to be voted out of committee. The Senate's proposal pushed by Sen. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, was quickly pushed out of committee but did not have the votes for approval by the whole chamber.

Texas was #3 on the leaderboard yesterday.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 211 deaths per day 


October 18 update starts here

Headline from Dallas Morning News, 10/7/2021
September marked the deadliest month for employees of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice since the pandemic began. Prisons elsewhere have kept strict safety protocols in place to stem its spread, even doubling down on mask and vaccine mandates as the highly contagious Delta variant ravaged the country. 
But Texas has relaxed, or rejected, many of these precautions.

On a very slow reporting day (14 states), Texas is 5th on the leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 170 deaths per day 


October 17 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/15/2021



On a slow reporting day (20 states), Texas notches 4th place on the leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 170 deaths per day 


October 16 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/15/2021
Senate Bill 1, which passed out of the House on Friday afternoon, is a roundabout way for Republican legislators to deliver on a longtime pet issue — property tax relief — without running afoul of a federal rule barring the use of stimulus dollars for tax cuts.  
The bill originally came over from the Senate as a straight-up tax cut bill. House lawmakers gutted the Senate proposal to use it as a vehicle for the $3 billion in checks for homeowners. Now, lawmakers in both chambers will have to work out a compromise.

Calilfornia edges ahead of Texas on the leaderboard


Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 170 deaths per day 



October 15 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/14/2021
It was the second legislative hearing in as many days in which business groups and medical leaders urged the Legislature to let individual companies decide whether they require employees to be vaccinated. Abbott asked lawmakers this week to take up the issue to ensure Texans aren’t required to get vaccinated, saying that vaccines are “safe, effective, & our best defense against the virus, but should always remain voluntary and never forced.”

Texas retains the top spot on the COVID leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 186 deaths per day 


October 14 update starsts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/12/2021
The most important part? She forced Abbott to back down from his first set of COVID-19 mandates and painted him and others as full-fledged members of the “Austin swamp.” Since then, Abbott has swung to the right. He’s so overwhelmed by politics that he’s become a Random Policy Generator, throwing out edicts that make sense only if you forget everything he said before.

 

Texas regains the top spot on the leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 240 deaths per day 


October 14 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/12/2021
The ramifications for businesses could begin as soon as Friday, when companies that enter into contract work with the federal government will be required to have all employees vaccinated under orders from the White House. This conflicts with Abbott’s ban on vaccine mandates, putting the many Texas businesses that receive federal contracts in a tough position: Comply with federal law and violate Abbott’s ban, or comply with Abbott and turn down business from the federal government.


Yesterday, Texas was 2nd to a surging Minnesota in the number of new Covid cases reported. 

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 240 deaths per day 



October 12 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/11/2021

It's all abouty internal GOP politica.
For weeks, Abbott has been under pressure from some on his right to go further in prohibiting vaccine requirements, and one of his primary challengers, Don Huffines, celebrated the latest order.
With 34 states reporting, Texas ranked 4th yesterday.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 150 deaths per day 


October 10 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/8/2021
Students like Flores and his siblings aren’t alone in their journey. Each year, more people of color, especially Hispanics, come to Texas, with nearly 2 million additional Hispanic people calling Texas home over the last decade, according to the 2020 census. Texans of color as a whole accounted for 95% of the state’s population growth. 
So the importance of teaching non-English-speaking children has never been higher. 
But the pandemic is threatening what was a fragile area of education to begin with.

Texas takes a back seat to Pennsylvania on a slow reporting day.  (No reports from 29 states.)

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 195 deaths per day 


October 9 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Project, 10/8/2021

Texas still tops the leaderboard

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 195 deaths per day 


October 8 update starts here

When Greg Abbott started to fuck up major-league


Texas continues to hold the top spot on the Covidi leaderboard

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 200 deaths per day 


October 7 update starts here

What gets top billing in Greg Abbott's world


It's another bungle.


Meanwhile, Texas continues its reign atop the Covid leaderboard

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 222 deaths per day 


October 6 update starts here

And he's paying for it in the polls

The Texas Politics Project (box added above and below)


Texas remains atop the leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 222 deaths per day 


October 5 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/4/2021

Texas remains atop the leaderboard.


Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 222 deaths per day 


October 4 update starts here

Still fiddling nearly 2 months later

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/12/2021

It has turned to self-parody. As COVID-19 cases rose and hospitalizations approached outright crisis, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a photo of himself playing the fiddle at a weekend political gathering. 
Way to go, Nero. 
 COVID-19 is peaking for a third time since the beginning of the pandemic. That would be enough alone. But schools are opening, hospitals are overwhelmed and Texas has not put up as much resistance as it could have.

Texas is back atop the leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 246 deaths per day 




October 2 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/1/2021
On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a formal statement in support of the federal lawsuit filed in August by the advocacy group Disability Rights Texas. In the statement, federal attorneys argue that banning public schools from requiring masks for students keeps disabled children from accessing in-person classes during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 
The statement points out that Abbott’s executive order this summer, which bans mask mandates, “has the effect of denying them an equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from the in-person instruction offered by their public schools.”

Texas drops to 2nd place on the leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 246 deaths per day 


October 1 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 10/1/2021 (box added)
According to recent surveys by the Texas Health Care Association and LeadingAge Texas, two nursing home industry groups in Texas, facilities across the state have seen a 12% decrease in their workforce in the last year. At least one-third of survey respondents are turning away new admissions due to staffing shortages, the survey says.

Would you want anyone you love -- a parent, sibling, friend -- confined to a nursing home where 40% of the staff is unvaccinated?

Texas.   Still atop the leaderboard.

Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 277 deaths per day.


September 30 update starts here

Press release found at The Town of Highland Park

Now that's what's called a BIG FAIL!

Nearly 7 months later, Texas reigns supreme in new Covid cases and deaths.  Heckuva job, Abby!
Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 311 deaths per day.


September 29 update starts here

Headline from AlterNet, 9/28/2021
When COVID-19 was overwhelming New York City hospitals during the 2020 spring, a silly talking point in right-wing media was that residents of red states didn't need to worry about the pandemic because it only posed a threat to Democratic areas. But COVID-19, just as health experts predicted, found its way to red states in a brutal way. And the current COVID-19 surge is especially severe in red states that have lower vaccination rates. Journalist David Leonhardt, in an article published by the New York Times this week, examines a disturbing pattern: red states where residents are more likely to be anti-vaxxers and more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and die from it.

Texas continues its reign atop the leaderboard.


Worldometer (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 311 deaths per day.


September 28 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/27/2021

Even with the number of new cases and deaths declining, Texas remains atop the leaderboard.

Worldometers (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 311 deaths per day.


September 26 update starts here

Headline from Dallas Morning News, 9/25/2021

Most of Texas's 254 counties remains at extremely high risk of Covid spread.



September 25 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/24/2021
Less than two months into this school year, the number of reported coronavirus cases among students has surpassed the total from the entire 2020-21 school year. Schools are prohibited from taking precautions such as requiring masks, though some are fighting the governor’s order banning mask mandates. Far more students are on campus, since most districts do not have a remote learning option.  [emphasis added]

September 24 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/24/2021 (box added)
The dramatic and sudden increase in deaths — which jumped nearly tenfold over two months this summer — comes in spite of tens of thousands of vaccine doses being administered to Texans every day. 
Experts say it’s being driven by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus that is preying on the 14 million Texans who remain unvaccinated. Some 96% of cases in Texas are the delta variant, state health officials said.


Texas remains the leader of the pack in new Covid cases and deaths.

Worldometers (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 328 deaths per day.


September 23 update starts here

Greg Abbott.  Boogying his way to doomsday.

Polling t rend from Texas Politics

Texas continues to lead the hit parade of new Covid cases and deaths.

Worldometers (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 376 deaths per day.


September 22 update starts here

Headline from Dallas Morning News, 9/21/2021
In May, Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting school districts and most other governmental entities from requiring masks. With rising COVID-19 case counts heading into the school year, dozens of school districts — including Dallas, Plano, Richardson and Garland ISDs — defied the order, implementing some form of a mandate under the protection of temporary restraining orders. 
The Texas Education Agency revised its guidance on Aug. 19, stating that it would not enforce the mask ban because of an ongoing legal battle. And, in recent weeks, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has sued several districts, including Richardson, for defying Abbott’s order.

Texas remains #1 on the USA hit parade of new Covid cases and deaths.

Worldometers (with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 376 deaths per day.


September 21 update starts here

Headline from Austin American-Statesman, 9/20/2021
The ad was scheduled to play on the Longhorn Network during the game between Texas and Rice University, according to a news release Sunday from the Lincoln Project. The organization said the advertisement cost $25,000 and was cleared by the legal department for ESPN. 
“Did Greg Abbott or his allies assert political influence to ensure the advertisement was not broadcast?” the statement said. “Once again, instead of focusing on the task of keeping Texans safe from the coronavirus pandemic, it appears they’ve focused their time and energy on censoring those that would hold him to account for his failures.”

Meanwhile, the majority of Texas's 254 counties are at extremely high risk of Covid spread.



September 19 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/17/2021 
The death of a 20-year-old Texas A&M University student from COVID-19 last week spurred fear, frustration and sadness on the College Station campus. In the days since the biomedical science major died, those same feelings have galvanized some students and faculty members to demand more stringent coronavirus precautions from university officials — even if that means defying Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban on such mandates. 
“How many Aggies must die before Texas A&M University mandates vaccinations and masks for its students and faculty?” physics professor Peter McIntyre said this week at a virtual faculty senate meeting.


Texas drops to 2nd place on a slow reporting day. 

(Worldometers with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 353 deaths per day.



September 18 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/17/2021  (box added)



Once again Texas reports the most new Covid cases and deaths in one day.

(Worldometers with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 353 deaths per day.



September 18 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/16/2021

Once again Texas reports the most new Covid cases and deaths in one day.

(Worldometers with the usual FLA death proviso.)
Florida is currently averaging 363 deaths per day.


September 16 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/16/2021
Pregnant women have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the United States: As of Sept. 4, about 25% of pregnant women ages 18 to 49 have received at least one vaccine dose nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s significantly less than the most recent national average for that age group, which is about 61%. 
The Texas Department of State Health Services currently does not collect vaccination data on pregnant women, said Lara Anton, an agency spokesperson, and also does not track cases, hospitalizations or deaths among this group.

Once again Texas reports the most new Covid cases and deaths in one day.

(Worldometers with the usual FLA death proviso.
Florida is currently averaging 326 deaths per day.)

September 15 upstate stats here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/14/2021
Midway Independent School District is a Waco-area district that sits on a list compiled by the attorney general’s office of school districts and counties that have flouted Gov. Greg Abbott’s ban and put in place their own mask-wearing orders. 
The hitch? Midway ISD doesn’t mandate that students, teachers, school staff or visitors don masks while on school premises, a district spokesperson said Wednesday. Midway officials have tried to convince the attorney general’s office the district doesn’t have a mandate — but to no avail.

Once again Texas reports the most new Covid cases and deaths in one day.

(Worldometers with the usual FLA death proviso)



September 14 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/13/2021

Each wave gets worse.



Once again Texas reports the most new Covid cases and deaths in one day.

(Worldometers with the usual FLA death proviso)


September 13 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/13/2021
But while delta raged through most of the state’s 254 counties in July and August, breaking records and overwhelming hospitals in both rural conservative areas and sprawling liberal metros, El Paso — with one of the highest vaccination rates in the state — has been relatively unscathed by the most recent surge. 
“We held our breath after July Fourth, but we didn’t see the increase we thought we’d see in terms of hospitalizations,” said Martinez, a local government employee.

On a slow day, with only 15 states reporting numbers, Texas still leads the reduced pack.

(Worldometers with the usual FLA death proviso)


September 12 update starts here



Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/10/2021



Texas ranked 1st in number of new Covid cases yesterday.  (Note:  The New York Times reports that Florida is averaging 350 deaths per day,  The total number matches Worldometers.)



September 11 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/10/2021
The legal push-and-pull between the state’s Republican leadership and local officials has led to a patchwork of rules about mask-wearing across the state as judges uphold, revoke and reinstate the various requirements, creating confusion for Texans about whether they or their kids must wear a mask.

For a reality check, see headline at September 4 entry. 

Yesterday Texas placed 2nd in number of new Covid cases and 1st in deths.  (Note:  Worldometers' FLA death tally needs to be taken with a grain of salt.)


.

September 10 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/9/2021

Yesterday Texas led the nation in the number of new Covid cases and deaths.  (Note:  Worldometers' FLA death tally needs to be taken with a grain of salt.)


September 9 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/9/2021
The shortage has spilled over to substitute teachers; officials say most substitutes tend to be retired teachers and many don’t want to come back to classrooms during this stage of the pandemic.

Yesterday Texas led the nation in the number of new Covid cases and deaths.  (Note:  Worldometers' FLA death tally needs to be taken with a grain of salt.)

(red box added)

September 8 update starts here

Headline from Texas Public Radio, 9/3/2021

The Abbott-infused, GOP insanity continues.

Texas schools have amassed more than 50,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in students in just a couple of weeks. More than a dozen school districts have closed temporarily as a result of the disease, and Texas is a leader in child deaths from COVID-19 with 59 as of Sept. 3. 
But state leaders have spent weeks of the surge pushing through controversial bills around abortion, voting restrictions and bail reform while Gov. Abbott has been fighting local governments over their efforts to stem the spread of the disease. 
Hospitals across the state are running low on pediatric intensive care unit beds. Texas’ Department of State Health Services says only 81 of them remain — and just a couple hundred more regular ICU beds are available in the state of 29 million people.

 

Texas drops to 3rd place in yesterday's numbers, as Tennessee takes over the top spot.


Stats to be taken with a grain of salt from Worldometers

September 7 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/7/2021

Apparently, the Texas GOP had bigger dumpes to take.  
To stop a growing number of school districts from defying Abbott’s ban on mask mandates, the governor had called on Texas lawmakers to put a bill on his desk that would once and for all bar school officials from requiring students, teachers and other school employees to wear face coverings — and put an end to the constant back-and-forth in the courts that has created a confusing patchwork of mask rules across the state. 
But in a special session that saw the passage of a number of Abbott’s priorities — among them a controversial GOP elections bill and a bill to forbid the teaching of “critical race theory” — the prospect of banning local governments and public schools from creating their own mask requirements never gained traction.

 

September 6 update starts here

Headline from Houston Chronicle, 9/5/2021
The Canyon Lake news website also spoke to a Kinder Ranch parent who volunteers at the school and asked to remain anonymous. She says the Kinder Ranch parents have relied on each other for information due to a lack of communication from school officials. The parent also says this update came from another parent of a kindergarten student, not the district.

Most of Texas's 254 counties remain at extremely high risk for Covid spread.


September 5 update starts here

Headline from Austin American-Statesman, 9/3/2021
When my wife and I booked a first visit to Austin to celebrate our 50th anniversary in November, we looked forward to staying in a fine hotel, eating at a variety of restaurants, and enjoying the city’s vaunted music and entertainment scene. Today we are sorry to cancel our reservations. 
Why? The succession of executive orders from Gov. Greg Abbott seeking to limit or forbid attempts to reduce the toll of the COVID-19 virus appears to us little more than a welcome mat inviting the delta variant of the virus into Texas. Although we are vaccinated, we see no reason to expose ourselves to such an environment. 
So we won’t. Texas’ loss of our planned spending is California’s gain. 
Jim Fisher, Moscow, Idaho

Texas led the nation in new cases and deaths yesterday.  By huge margins.


September 4 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/3/2021

A real mess
State data about the number of coronavirus cases in districts that have closed at least once during the school year thus far is incomplete — 19 have not reported any cases in students or staff to the state, while case totals in 22 districts have been suppressed by the state due to privacy policies. The list of public school closures in Texas is also incomplete, according to TEA. The agency is tracking closures informally based on media and district reports since districts are not required to report closures to TEA, said Frank Ward, an agency spokesperson.


Texas takes the top spot in new cases yesterday.


September 3 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/27/2021
According to data released by the Texas Department of State Health Services, as of Aug. 22, adults 30 to 49 now account for roughly 29% of all COVID-19 hospital admissions in Texas, up from 15% on Jan. 11 during the height of the winter surge. 
The data shows that people in the 18-29 age group increased their share of admissions during that period from 5% to 7%, while the percentage of children under 18 admitted to hospitals with COVID-19 increased by 1 percentage point — an average of 46 children each day were admitted to hospitals during the week ending Aug 22.

Yesterday, Texas led the nation in the number of news Covid cases and deaths.


You might want to place an asterisk next to Florida's number in the red column.  Worldometers has been puzzlingly off the mark in reporting an accurate death count for Florida.


September 2 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/1/2021


After yesterday's report of new Covid cases, Texas finds itself in 1st place.  Heckuva job, Greg!



September 1 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 9/1/2021
It was, relatively speaking, a small blow-up, but Texas hospital workers and health care officials say incidents like it have been rising in both number and intensity this summer as tensions boil during the delta-fueled fourth surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. 
“Our staff have been cursed at, screamed at, threatened with bodily harm and even had knives pulled on them,” said Jane McCurley, chief nursing executive for Methodist Healthcare System, speaking at a press conference five days after the incident in the children’s ER. “It is escalating. … It’s just a handful at each facility who have been extremely abusive. But there is definitely an increasing number of occurrences every day.”

;



That's cuz his priorities are all fucked-up.


Texas dropped to #3 in number of new cases yesterday.



August 31 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/30/2021
Hospital staff has never been in shorter supply, which deepens the strain on all departments, including emergency rooms, respiratory therapy and even labor and delivery. Without the capacity to take on new patients — and equally thin resources elsewhere to transfer them to — doctors fear they’ll have to start making heartbreaking decisions about care in order to save the most lives possible.



Texas remains #2 in the number of new Covid cases.


August 30 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/29/2021


The majority of Texas's 254 counties remain at extremely high risk.


August 29 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/27/2021
State District Judge Catherine Mauzy of Travis County denied a request by the Southern Center for Child Advocacy, a nonprofit education group, to extend a temporary order blocking Abbott’s ban and allow any school district in Texas to require students, teachers, school employees and visitors to wear masks in public schools. 
But in another case, the same judge temporarily blocked Abbott’s executive order banning local mask mandates with a temporary injunction — allowing 20 school districts to require students, teachers, school employees and visitors to wear masks in public schools.


Texas holds onto the #2 position in number of new Covid cases yesterday. 



August 28 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/27/2021
Between Aug. 16 and Aug. 22, there were 14,033 positive cases reported among students across the state, 34% more than the week with the most student cases reported last school year, the Department of State Health Services data shows. Last week’s totals also represent a 182% increase from the week ending Aug. 15, though fewer students were in school then. 
There have been 20,256 reported cases among students since the state agency started tracking data on Aug. 2 for this school year. That’s less than 0.4% of the 5.3 million students enrolled in the state as of January. Districts with the highest rates of cases include Midland, Humble, Conroe, Corpus Christi and New Caney, all of which reported more than 10 new cases per 1,000 students, based on January enrollment numbers.

Texas remains #2 in the number of daily cases reported and #1 in deaths.  (But only because Worldometers is inexplicably underreporting the number of daily Covid deaths in Florida.)



August 27 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/26/2021
So far, Texas lawmakers appear to be sticking along party lines as they approach Abbott’s request, mirroring a nation deeply divided over the vaccine based on political party. Abbott himself has faced backlash from the right wing of his party for other emergency actions to address the pandemic, like the shuttering of businesses last year. 
Democratic lawmakers have filed legislation to add COVID-19 vaccines to the list of the vaccines required of Texas schoolchildren, allow school districts to follow the pandemic rules implemented by their local health authorities and to let schools decide their own mask policies.

 

Texas reported the 2nd largest number of new Covid cases yesterday.



August 26 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/25/2021
Abbott’s last order regarding vaccine requirements, issued July 29, said “no governmental entity can compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.” 
While there is a new state law that acted as a backstop for Abbott’s previous order if a vaccine received full approval, it was not as sweeping as the order and left the door open to new mandates. There specifically appeared to be the fresh potential for cities, counties and school districts to require their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 
San Antonio Independent School District had already announced mandatory employee vaccinations, prompting a lawsuit from Attorney General Ken Paxton. District officials said Wednesday they will move forward with the mandate — despite Abbott's latest order.


August 25 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/23/2021
Hospitals that had returned to pre-pandemic staffing levels due to a decline in COVID-19 cases were caught off-guard by the sudden surge last month, and many were left understaffed after burnout caused personnel to quit. The state had pulled thousands of relief nurses from hospitals across Texas in May after numbers declined over the spring. 
At least 89 Texas hospitals reported being out of ICU beds last week, more than at any other time during the pandemic. Last week, Gov. 
Greg Abbott announced that the state would be paying for 5,500 contract nurses to come to Texas hospitals, but counties and cities were also directed to seek funds themselves through FEMA to pay for any additional staff they needed.

Texas regains second place on the new Covid cases hit parade, still leads in deaths.



August 24 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/23/2021
As the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19 spreads and sends unvaccinated Texans to the hospital with serious illness, hospitals are under enormous pressure to make room for growing numbers of patients.

Texas drops to #3 in number of new cases reported yesterday.

Worldsometers (red box added)

August 23 update starts here

Headline from New York Times, 8/23/2021
(Guest essay from Mimi Swartz, editor of Texas Monthly)
Maybe you heard that Mr. Abbott tested positive for the coronavirus? One day before the news broke, he appeared at a crowded campaign event, maskless, shaking hands and posing for pictures. It was nice of him to let us know that he was feeling fine after getting the kind of care President Donald Trump received when he tested positive — those nifty monoclonal antibodies and all. Yet for years, Mr. Abbott has denied federal funds toward a state expansion of Medicaid, which could help many Texans get access to health care (and, polls show, has the support of a majority of residents).

Texas reported new Covid cases yesterday.  Most of the state's 254 counties do no reporting on the weekends.


Texas's 7-day average of new Covid cases peaked at 22,983 on January 16, 2021.

August 23 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/19/2021
At Morgan Mill Independent School District, southwest of Fort Worth, more than half the staff was out sick, a school official said. The district shut all its campuses through Thursday due to COVID concerns. No classes had been planned for Friday anyway, and officials will evaluate the situation over the weekend. Bloomburg Independent School District in East Texas closed its doors for at least several days this week. And Waskom Independent School District, also in East Texas, first closed its elementary school for the week and then on Wednesday announced it would close all its campuses until at least Monday, due to COVID-19. 
All four districts are in areas where fewer than a third of residents are fully vaccinated, and nearby hospitals that offer critical care are experiencing staffing shortages while the delta variant wages war on the Texas health system. [emphasis added]

Texas.  The leader of the pack in both new Covid cases and deaths.

Worldometers (red box added)

August 21 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/20/2021


With Worldometers not reporting Florida's numbers yesterday, Texas, by default, takes over 1st place.  (The New York Times reported 35,935 new cases in Florida on August 20.)

August 20 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/20/2021
If you get sick in Iraan, a West Texas town with a population of about 1,300, there is a hospital — with 14 beds. There is no critical care, no ventilators and no ICU. The closest hospitals with those kinds of services are in Midland, Odessa and San Angelo, all 80 miles or more away. 
So having 50 people in Iraan test positive for COVID-19 in the last few weeks is a scary thing.

Texas ranked #1 yesterday in new cases and deaths.


August 19 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/16/2021

Texas led the nation in Covid deaths yesterday.



August 18 update starts here

Also in the news:  Abbott tests positive for Covid.


Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/17/2021
More Texas hospitals are reporting a shortage of ICU beds than at any other time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state 18 months ago — just one sign among many that the health crisis is on track to reach its most dangerous phase yet, health officials say. 
The latest surge of the virus has also caused new cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations to rise with record speed to just below their January peaks, as the highly contagious delta variant rips through the unvaccinated community at a rate up to eight times faster than earlier strains, officials said. 
“We are entering the worst surge in sheer numbers,” said Dr. Mark Casanova, a palliative care specialist in Dallas and a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force. “This is the fourth round of what should have been a three-round fight. We do have very sincere concerns that the numbers game is going to overwhelm us.”

Texas is poised to snatch the top spot from Florida.


August 17 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/16 /2021

For example, the Texas Supreme Court temporarily nixed mask mandates in Bexar and Dallas counties Sunday evening. Less than a day later, a lower court judge essentially reinstated the Bexar mandate for public schools — though not without acknowledging the confusion. 
“I just wanted to apologize to all those parents, school administrators, the superheroes that we call teachers for what someone called the equivalent to a legal tug of war, unfortunately where our children are right in the middle,” District Judge Antonia Arteaga said in making her ruling Monday afternoon.

Hypocritically, most GOP elected officials, not just in Wisconsin but across the U.S.,  hold dear this cartoon conservative principle.


Texas slips to 3rd place in the hit parade.




August 16 update starts here

In most of Texas's 254 counties, less than one-third of all residents are vaccinated.


And the worst offending counties are deep-red GOP.


An insanely botched response to the delta variant on Abbott's part

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/16/2021
The latest escalation in coronavirus cases coincides with the commencement of classes in Texas public schools. Parents and educators are debating the safety of returning to campuses, especially with a confounding set of rules in place: Attendance in school is required and is also the basis for state school funding, the state won’t pay for widespread virtual attendance under current law, students under age 12 aren’t eligible for vaccinations, and the governor won’t allow mask mandates. 
This part is agreed upon: Students learn more in person than they do online. There’s not a fight — or a new one, anyway — over education. The fight is about practicality and risk: What’s safe, what does staying safe require of everyone involved, and what’s this going to cost?


August 15 update starts here

About two-thirds of Texas's 254 are extremely high risk.


Headline from The Texas Tribune
“While more vaccination is the only thing that can ultimately bring this pandemic to an end, we need more decisive actions now to prevent a catastrophe the likes of which we only imagined last year,” Dr. Esmaeil Porsa, CEO of Harris Health System in Houston, told the Texas Senate Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.  
“This crisis right now is really driving us to a place where it is really unsustainable,” said Dr. Joseph Chang, chief medical officer for Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas. 
The number of COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals is accelerating faster than at any other point in the pandemic as the contagious delta variant spreads unchecked, primarily among the unvaccinated.

Texas remains #2 on the hit parade
   


August 14 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/11/2021

Texas remains #2 in number of new cases but leads thet nation in deaths with 146.  Neighboring Louisiana is 2nd with 57.


August 13 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/13/2021



Texas is #2 on the hit patade.


Augsut 12 update starts here


Headline from Texas Tribune, 8/12/2021
More children are being treated in Texas hospitals for COVID-19 than ever before. But there’s a second factor that is putting pediatric hospitals on the path to being overwhelmed: an unseasonable outbreak of respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, a highly contagious virus that can require hospitalization mostly among children five years and younger and especially infants. 
During the last year, RSV was largely dormant, which experts believe was due to people masking up during the pandemic. Now, in just the last several weeks, thousands of Texas children have tested positive for the virus. 
In addition, the delta variant of COVID-19 appears to affect unvaccinated children more often than previous variants. It’s unclear if children are also becoming sicker from it than from other variants of COVID-19. And with the regular flu season approaching, medical experts are concerned over how hospital capacity could be affected.

With Florida reporting, Texas is bumped to 2nd place.


August 11 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/6/2021
Abbott recently declared Texas is “past the time of government mandates.” And he unveiled a second special session agenda Thursday that includes ensuring kids can return to school in person this fall if they want to, without any mask or vaccine requirements — a move that came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s updated guidance that recommends “universal indoor masking by all students.”

Texas grabs the #1 post, only because Florida did not report yesterday.


August 10 update starts here


Headline from Texas Tribune, 8/10/2021
The state is divided into 22 trauma service areas, and half of them reported 10 or fewer available ICU beds on Sunday. As more than 9,400 COVID-19 patients fill the state’s ICUs, which are reserved for the patients who are the sickest or most injured, the trauma service area that includes Laredo reported no available ICU beds, while the area that includes Abilene reported having one. 
At least 53 Texas hospitals have no available ICU capacity, according to numbers reported to the federal government during the week ending Aug. 5. In Austin, five hospitals were at or above 90% of their ICU capacity during the same period, with two reporting no available ICU beds.


8/9/2021 update starts here

The dilemma sounded familiar. A prominent, ambitious red-state governor, who had staked out a firm position opposed to mask mandates and other aggressive measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, suddenly found himself on the defensive as cases and hospitalizations soared in his state. 
First, it was Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. Now it is Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who is facing withering criticism as I.C.U. beds have dwindled to the single digits in Austin and health officials in San Antonio have labeled its risk level just a step below critical. But Mr. Abbott remains firm in his refusal to enact any statewide mandate while he prohibits local officials from doing so in their own communities.

August 8 update starts here

Headline from Texas Tribune, 8/7/2021
The first day of school in most Texas school districts is fast approaching. Parents who are concerned by the lack of mask mandates to combat the spread of the coronavirus are left with few options this year. Texas provided funds for remote learning during the start of the pandemic. But efforts to fund it for this school year have so far failed in the Texas Legislature.

Texas remains #2 on the hit parade.



August 7 update starts here

Headline from Texas Tribune, 8/6/2021
Abbott recently declared Texas is “past the time of government mandates.” And he unveiled a second special session agenda Thursday that includes ensuring kids can return to school in person this fall if they want to, without any mask or vaccine requirements — a move that came after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s updated guidance that recommends “universal indoor masking by all students.”

Texas remains #2 on the hit parade.


8/6/2021 update starts here

Headline from The Texas Tribune, 8/5/2021
The number of new confirmed cases has reached levels the state hasn’t seen since February, shortly after the deadliest peak of the pandemic thus far in Texas. Forecasters are predicting that without major social and behavioral changes, like widespread masking and social distancing, hospitalizations could reach new highs within two weeks — just as millions of unvaccinated students return to school in mid-August. 
Gov. Greg Abbott has barred school districts and local governments from enacting new mandates or restrictions.


Texas remains #2 on the hit parade.


Original 8/6/2021 post starts here


By the numbers, Abbott trails at this point in the contest.




Living in or visiting Texas is risky business.


No comments: