CORONAVIRUS | TEXAS

Texas Governor Greg Abbott tests positive for covid-19: How quickly are cases rising in the state?

The governor has tested positive for covid-19 as the number of cases confirmed and hospitalizations in the state has doubled in the last month.

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Texas Governor Greg Abbott tests positive for covid-19: How quickly are cases rising in the state?
MONTINIQUE MONROE AFP

Late Tuesday night, the Texas Governor’s Office informed the public that Greg Abbott had tested positive for covid-19.

This news came after the government attended a Republican fundraiser, where masks and social distancing were sparse.

The statement detailed that the governor has undergone daily testing and that he had been “in constant communication with his staff, agency heads, and government officials to ensure that state government continues to operate smoothly and efficiently.”

To date, the First Lady of Texas has not tested positive, and Gov. Abbott has opted to isolate in the Governor’s Mansion. He is receiving Regeneron's monoclonal antibody treatment to avoid severe infection.

Gov. Abbott’s team also assured the public that he “is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, in good health, and currently experiencing no symptoms. Everyone that the Governor has been in close contact with today has been notified.”

So far, the governor seems to be in good spirits and has spent time positing to social media about his condition.

How quickly are covid-19 cases rising in Texas?

While troubling to see a high-level leader test positive for covid-19 so late in the pandemic, it is unsurprising considering the rapid increase in covid cases and hospitalizations occurring across the state.

As of 18 August, just under 55 percent of the state’s population has received one dose, and under half -- 45 percent -- of all residents are fully vaccinated. Demand for vaccines has increased in the state, but the levels remain far from those needed to reach herd immunity.

In the first two weeks of August, the Lone Star State confirmed 201,706 cases, double what was recorded in the last two weeks of July. Tragically, the number of deaths from covid-19 has more than doubled over the same period from 475 from 17-31 July to 1,015 from 1-16 August.

Hospitalizations

In part, these staggering increases are tied to a strained hospital system that nears collapse as the curve continues its upward trend.

On 31 July, 12 percent of hospital beds in the state were being used to treat patients with covid-19; that figure is now almost a quarter. These increases are on track to surpass all levels seen at other points in the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, one saving grace has been the natural immunity of many children to covid-19. However, new data out of North Texas shows that children may be more susceptible to emerging variants.

Late last week, NBC reported on the Dallas-Fort Worth Hospital Council’s announcement that there were “no more pediatric ICU beds in trauma service area E, which includes hospitals in 19 counties in North Texas.” The same report stated that the region saw the highest number of hospitalized children since the beginning of the pandemic.

As Texas prepares to send kids back to school, these figures are concerning, to say the least.