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We’re #2!

More people have died of COVID in Texas than any other state except California, as Texas surpasses New York’s total.

Texas has passed New York to become the state with the second-most COVID-19 deaths, a feat experts say was driven by an inability to control transmission of the virus here.

Texas reached the milestone Wednesday, hitting 53,275 deaths, despite trailing New York by more than 29,000 fatalities last summer. Since then, though Texas is 54 percent more populous, more than twice as many Texans as New Yorkers have succumbed to COVID-19. California, the most populous state, leads the nation with 64,372 virus deaths.

Spencer Fox, associate director of the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, said he was surprised Texas had not passed New York in mortality sooner, since the northeastern state did a far better job limiting the spread of virus after it endured a horrific surge last spring.

“They enacted really strong, precautionary measures that overall are well based in the available science,” Fox said. “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.”

By June 30 of last year, as the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the United States, New York tallied 31,775 virus deaths. Texas had just 2,481.

While New York City hospitals were pushed to the brink in the spring and the region became a global epicenter of the virus, Texas had kept the virus at bay and begun to ease restrictions.

Over next 13 months, however, the states reversed roles. New York kept restrictions and mask rules in place longer and consistently maintained a lower positivity rate than Texas. In contrast, Texas endured two surges of the virus and is in the early stages of a third, as the Delta variant now sweeps the country as a fourth wave of the virus.

During that time, Texas steadily closed in on New York’s death tally, a Chronicle analysis found.

Another way to put it is this: Since June 30 of last year, 13 months ago, there have been about 51,000 COVID deaths in Texas. (That’s the official count, which as we know is too low for a variety of factors, but it’s what we’re using for comparison purposes.) In that same time period, there have been about 22,000 COVID deaths in New York. Texas, with 54% more people than New York, has had 131% more COVID deaths than New York in that time period. It’s mind-boggling, enraging, tragic, devastating, and all of it can be laid at the doorstep of Greg Abbott.

The rest of the story is a timeline of those past 13 months, the various things that governments in New York and Texas did and didn’t do to deal with the changing infection rates, and so on. New York has been far more restrictive than Texas has, sometimes to the point where its residents complained and experts questioned the risk calculation involved, but the numbers are what they are. New York also has a higher vaccination rate than Texas, so this trend is going to continue, and probably accelerate, in the foreseeable future. Indeed, given how much more vaccinated California is than Texas, we could conceivably catch up to them as well. Not a goal we should want to achieve.

But we’re well on the way, and Texas’ hospitals are bracing for impact.

When Terry Scoggin left work at Titus Regional Medical Center in Mount Pleasant on Tuesday evening, there were five patients at the facility being treated for COVID.

Overnight, six more people suffering severe coronavirus infections were admitted to the rural Northeast Texas hospital — pushing the facility to its capacity limit and putting Scoggin, the hospital’s chief executive, on high alert for what he’s calling “a fourth surge.”

“We’re at it again,” Scoggin said.

That same night, hospitalizations in Bexar County rose by nearly 8%. Almost 100 people were admitted with severe COVID to local facilities on Tuesday alone, Bexar County officials said on Wednesday.

“These numbers are staggering and frightening,” said Eric Epley, CEO of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council for Trauma in San Antonio.

Hospital and health officials across Texas are seeing similar dramatic jumps, straining an already decimated health care system that is starving for workers in the aftermath of previous coronavirus surges.

[…]

Fueled by the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, which is contributing to skyrocketing cases not just in Texas but across the nation, the rising hospitalizations rates have spread outside of the heavily populated metro areas that first began to report increases a few weeks ago. Now they are being seen in all corners of the state, triggering pleas from hospitals for state-backed staffing help to handle the increasing pressure.

Trend forecasters at the University of Texas at Austin’s COVID-19 Modeling Consortium said Wednesday that most regions of the state could see a return within a couple of weeks to the capacity-busting hospitalization rate facilities were experiencing in January — the height of the pandemic — if people don’t resume masking up and social distancing.

In Florida, hospitals are already seeing the numbers of COVID patients exceeding levels they saw during the worst of the pandemic, and consortium researchers told The Texas Tribune that Texas is not far behind.

“We are absolutely on a path to hit a surge as large, if not bigger, than the previous surges right now” said Spencer Fox, associate director at the consortium. “If nothing is done, we’re on a crash course for a very large third wave.”

The situation has caused health officials from both rural and metro areas to plead for more resources from the state.

“On behalf of the 157 rural hospitals across Texas, I am writing to ask you immediately take steps to provide additional medical staffing which we anticipate will be needed in our rural hospitals in short order because of the new COVID surge,” John Henderson, president and CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals, wrote in a July 26 letter to Gov. Greg Abbott.

And what was Abbott’s eventual response?

The story is behind their paywall, but the basics of it that I could glean were that the state of Texas is declining to use any COVID stimulus funds to pay for more hospital staff. Instead, the state is directing cities and counties to use their own COVID funds for that. Because we’re all in this together you’re on your own, Jack. And remember, it’s all your fault and will be your fault when more people have died of COVID in Texas than anywhere else in the country.

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13 Comments

  1. C.L. says:

    Impossible. Dr. Hochman has continuously informed us C-19 is akin to the common cold…and that nothing – masks, social distancing, hand sanitizers, vaccines, etc. – will slow it’s transmission. Nothing to fear here ! Dying from COVID is about as rare as a daily ride on your bike from the Beall St., to the Med Ctr and getting hit by a automobile.

  2. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    Dr Hochman is a danger to himself and others.

  3. Robert Nagle says:

    It’s probably unsurprising that Texas finally surpassed NY’s death rate. But Texas already was beating NY in terms of cases (3.1 million compared to 2.1 million).

    NY’s high mortality rates came mainly from the fact that it was first and hospitals were still getting used to identifying cases and treating them.

    Cumulatively, all the big states had comparable rates of infection (10-12% of population) — with Florida leading the pack.

  4. Manny says:

    With the “Morons” that run the state, it won’t surprise me that we will soon be #1.

  5. Kibitzer says:

    I nominate Abbott for “Loony State Moron-in-Chief.”

    Any seconds?

    LIKE TAKING THE FIRE HOSE AWAY FROM THE FIRE FIGHTERS

    [Abbott’s Executive Order GA-38] strips local officials’ ability to set capacity limits amid high hospitalizations, stresses ‘personal responsibility’. The new order comes as hospitalizations reached over 15% on Thursday in the Galveston region. Other areas are increasing close to that threshold, such as the Belton/Killeen region at 14% and Bryan/College Station region at 12%, according to the state.

    By Eline De Bruijn. KHOU 11 (July 30, 2021)
    https://www.khou.com/article/news/politics/gov-abbott-order-hospitalization-local-officials-personal-responsibility-texas/287-19037d36-a648-4768-82b6-efbb7b69e692

  6. Jason Hochman says:

    C.L, I am living on a different street now…a tree fell over onto the house on Beall, could’ve killed me, but it was a little off the target.

    But yes, the deaths are over counted. For example, there was that Texas representative Wright. He died of Covid. But he also had lung cancer. I’m not sure if you are aware, but lung cancer is serious, and has a five year survival rate of about 20%.

    Unless you are over 80, dying from Covid is not very likely. About the same as being stung to death by a swarm of bees. I would suggest that Texas is a good place to have higher death tolls from Covid, due to high rates of obesity and diabetes. Add to that a surge of cases coming unregulated and unchecked over the border, plus a bunch of state representatives having a super spreader party, and there is the cause of more severe illness and death.

    Meanwhile, I have ordered everyone to wear their masks. I am wearing mine to the grocery store, and the pet store and the auto parts store. The CDC figured out that the vaccinations aren’t so great after all. Please wear your mask and await the next clinical trial on the public.

    Speaking of the pet store, when I went this weekend, prices were raised once again! We need to stop the Bidenflation. It is hurting regular working people and the unemployed. Why does Biden hate the working people, the middle class, and minorities? When can we declare the Biden experiment a failure: Covid is spreading, mass shootings every day, other violent crime and theft is surging out of control, kids in cages, border crisis, inflation and shortages, even climate change is not fixed. China, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas, didn’t give their plan to the Paris Accord, it was due on July 30th. It is time to think about impeachment.

  7. Manny says:

    Jason, you can verify your stats or lies; how?

  8. Mainstream says:

    I am not excited to pass NY in such a grim measure, but it is worth noting that Texas has substantially greater population than NY. About 29 million to 20 million. A better comparison would be deaths per capita, or as the news article notes, recent trends that Texas only 54% larger in population has double the cases of NY.

  9. Adoile Turner III says:

    @jason great analysis.

  10. Manny says:

    Jason, you do know that your link, does not prove what you had stated. Well, maybe you don’t know.