TUESDAY, AUG 3 2021
Florida And Texas Are Covid Epicenters With Third Of US Cases Reported There
In Florida, criticism grows over Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ lack of response to skyrocketing covid case counts and record hospitalizations. And local leaders in some parts of Texas take new steps to fight the outbreak.
USA Today: One-Third Of All COVID Cases Reported In Florida And Texas
Florida and Texas had one-third of all COVID cases reported last week, White House COVID-19 Response coordinator Jeff Zients said during a Monday news conference. Florida broke two records — in cases and hospitalizations — this weekend. Texas now has more total statewide deaths than New York, the early epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. The U.S. reported 599,334 cases in the week ending Sunday.
A week earlier, cases numbered 364,123. The nation is now reporting 2,500 deaths per day, according to USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data. (Aspegren, 8/3)
In updates from Florida —
Politico: Florida Covid Hospitalizations Shatter Record As DeSantis Downplays Threat
The head of Florida’s largest hospital association warned that the skyrocketing number of Covid hospitalizations is unlike anything the state has seen before — even as Gov. Ron DeSantis downplays the spike. The Florida Hospital Association on Monday reported 10,389 Covid-19 hospitalizations, the most statewide during any point in the pandemic.
This follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting over the weekend that the state had more than 21,000 new coronavirus infections on Friday. It was the highest one-day total for Florida, which now makes up roughly one and five new cases nationally. (Dixon and Ritchie, 8/2)
NBC News: Covid Is Surging In Florida. Doctors And Nurses Are Back In Crisis Mode.
Florida, the third most populous state, has become the new national center for the virus, accounting for about a fifth of all new cases in the country. In hospitals across the state, doctors, nurses and staff members are confronting a fast-moving and escalating crisis with no end in sight. (Hillyard, Arkin and Sesin, 8/2)
The Washington Post: The Surge In Coronavirus Cases Seems To Be Spurring More Vaccinations
However much Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis wishes it weren’t so, the coronavirus is ravaging his state. DeSantis (R) has been at the forefront of the Republican effort to find a middle ground between his party’s stated opposition to measures aimed at containing the virus and keeping case totals low.
That has meant that he has been more vocal than many about the need for widespread vaccinations, but the emergence of the delta variant (and not, as he has tried to argue, simple seasonality) has meant an alarming spike in new cases in the state. (Bump, 8/2)
Axios: Local Florida Leaders Eye Ways To Take On DeSantis’ Anti-Mask Stance
With Florida at the forefront of the nation’s COVID surge, local governments across Tampa Bay are wondering if — or how — they can subvert Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration to do something to slow the spread. A day after Florida broke its record for daily cases, it did the same for the total number of COVID hospitalizations — set way back in July 2020, per the AP. (San Felice, 8/3)
Newsweek: ‘Wrong-Headed’: Miami Beach Mayor Blames DeSantis After Florida Sets COVID-19 Case Record
Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber blamed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after the state reported 21,683 new COVID-19 cases Saturday, its highest single-day total during the ongoing pandemic. “We’re not allowed to have mask mandates now, we were one of the first cities to require it and we charged a fine just to get people to do it.
The governor stopped allowing us to do it and then immediately we saw a surge across our county and state when he did that,” Gelber told CNN. The Democratic mayor said city officials are “trying to do everything we can to get around the governor’s very wrong-headed desires.” (Zhao, 8/1)
Fox News: Florida Family Sees 3 COVID-19 Deaths In Matter Of Days
A Florida woman is grieving the loss of her grandmother, mother, fiancé and future father-in-law who all died within days of each other after contracting COVID-19. Tiffany Devereaux, of Callahan, told local news outlets that none of the family had been vaccinated aside from her 85-year-old grandmother.
“I feel lost,” Devereaux told News4Jax.com. “I feel so lost. I don’t know what to think or what to feel right now. I want my loved ones back. They’re the ones that always got me through the hard times in my life and now they’re all gone.” (Hein, 8/2)
In updates from Texas —
Houston Chronicle: Mayor Sylvester Turner To Require City Workers To Mask Up, Bucking Governor’s Ban On Mandates
Mayor Sylvester Turner told city employees Monday that they again must wear masks when they are at work and unable to socially distance, a requirement that could run afoul of Gov. Greg Abbott’s latest executive order. Turner’s memo mentioned the recent uptick in cases because of the delta variant of the coronavirus and the importance of remaining vigilant against the spread of the virus. (McGuinness, 8/2)
Dallas Morning News: North Texas Officials Revisit COVID-19 Safety Measures As Cases Surge
North Texas officials are reconsidering safety protocols as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surge. The renewed efforts follow the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s update of mask guidelines last week, including a recommendation that fully vaccinated people cover their faces indoors in places that are struggling with community spread of COVID-19.
According to an updated forecast from the UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas and Tarrant counties are on track to report at least 1,500 coronavirus cases each day by Aug. 19. Hospitalizations in both counties have more than doubled in the last two weeks, and the model predicts they’ll continue climbing rapidly. (Somasundaram, 8/2)
Houston Chronicle: Harris County DA Kim Ogg Tests Positive For COVID-19
Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg on Monday afternoon tested positive for COVID-19, her office announced. She is fully vaccinated, experiencing mild symptoms and will quarantine, the office said in a tweet. Experts say vaccines remain highly effective against severe illness from the virus. Unvaccinated people make up the majority of surging hospitalizations throughout Houston-area and Texas. However, it’s still possible for vaccinated people to become infected. (Gill, 8/2)
The Texas Tribune: COVID-19 Is Spreading Fast Among Texas’ Unvaccinated. Here’s Who They Are And Where They Live.
Many of those unvaccinated are children who are ineligible to receive the shots; around 5 million Texans are under 12. But still 83% of Texans, or 24 million residents, are eligible for the vaccine. With 15 million Texans who have received at least one shot as of Aug. 1, that leaves 9 million eligible Texans who have not gotten their vaccine yet.
This places the state’s vaccination rate at 36th in the country and has helped drive another troubling wave in the pandemic. COVID hospitalizations in Texas quadrupled in July. Preliminary data from the state indicates that more than 99.5% of people who died due to COVID-19 in Texas from Feb. 8 to July 14 were unvaccinated. The percentage of fully vaccinated residents has gone from 3% to 42% in that time span. (Deguzman and Cai, 8/3)