The Delta variant has been rapidly spreading among a big amount of the unvaccinated Texas population and drove up the number of confirmed and suspected adult and pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations skyrocket in the past few months according to the Texas Medical Center president. However, the situation there is now getting better.
Gov. Greg Abbott’s strategy to fight the pandemic has largely focused on blocking local mandates and committing to protecting the “rights of the unvaccinated.”
In his words, Texas is “past the time of government mandates.” In fact, in August, Abbott announced that kids will return to school in person this fall without any masks or vaccine mandates for them or school members.
Texas suffered a spike in coronavirus infections in the past few months due to the new, rapidly spreading Delta variant. Luckily, those times seem to be over.
As of yesterday, October 7, the state registered 7,954 new coronavirus infections. Whereas only a month ago, those numbers were more than double. COVID-19 hospitalizations have also dropped by 28% in the previous two weeks.
According to the Texas Department of State Health, the number of coronavirus-related fatalities has been steadily decreasing, too.
September 5 – At least 45 school districts in Texas forced to temporarily suspend in-person classes
More than 45 small school districts have been forced to temporarily suspend in-person classes due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the Texas Education Agency reported. So far, the measures have affected over 42,000 students.
Between August 23 and 29, 27,353 new positive cases were reported among students in public schools in Texas, making it the highest one-week increase in infections since the pandemic began.
From the beginning of the school year, 51,904 students have been infected by the virus, which is around 1% of the 5.3 million enrolled ones. While 13,026 new infections have been registered among school staff.
Even though Texas suffered a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past two months, the situation there is now getting better.
On Wednesday, October 6, the Texas Department of State Health reported 10,120 new coronavirus cases and 371 fatalities, compared to Wednesday, September 1, when 17,033 new cases and 320 deaths were registered.
COVID-19 hotspots in Texas
Is it safe to travel to Houston?
The number of people testing positive for COVID-19 in Houston was increasing on a monthly basis. Luckily, since mid-September, new daily cases seem to be decreasing.
Only about 54% of Houstonians are fully vaccinated. In fact, unvaccinated citizens represent the vast majority of people showing up in emergency rooms and in ICUs.
This means that getting vaccinated could make the difference between a safe or an unsafe trip to Houston.
Texas hospital capacity
Texas has an extremely high density of clinical facilities for patient care, and a long tradition of medical research that attracts patients from all over the world.
In fact, the Texas Medical Center is the largest “medical city” in the world and has plenty of ICUs beds to assist COVID patients.
The number of beds is not the problem in Texas. William McKeon, president and CEO of Texas Medical Center points out the lack of nurses who have the right expertise around respiratory therapy, as the biggest issue Texas is facing.
“In the ICU, those COVID patients are typically inverted. Some are on respirators. The sickest of the sick will be on an ECMO. It takes real training for technicians, nurses, and doctors to manage respiratory therapy.” says the CEO.
But it’s not that Texas did not have enough medical professional personnel to face the threat. After 18 months into the pandemic, the staff is exhausted and experiencing PTSD after seeing thousands of people dying on their watch.
Being the second biggest state in the US behind Alaska, Texas is like a country by itself.
Texas is extremely diverse in its offering to visitors. The Southern state is blessed with a variety of climates and dramatically diverse landscapes – such as the gulf coast beaches, piney woods, and deserts.
And food! – Texas offers a mix of Native American, Mexican and American cuisine and all dishes are huge!