Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Sunday, April 11th (2:55 PM data)
Total Tests Performed – 26,650,395
Confirmed Cases – 2,422,139 (1,516 new cases)
Active Cases – 65,106
Hospitalizations – 2,822 (12,083 available beds, 1,007 available ICU beds)
Fatalities – 48,211 (26 new deaths)
Recovered Cases – 2,680,443
Vaccine Data – Sunday, April 11th (1:030 PM data)
Doses Shipped by state – 14,703,515
People with one dose received – 9,186,322
People fully vaccinated – 5,613,265
Total doses administered – 14,312,547
Inside the Numbers
Molecular positivity rate as of Sunday, April 11th was 5.52%. One month ago, there were 4,700 new cases reported, one week ago there were 837 new cases reported, compared to the 1,500 reported yesterday. The 2,822 COVID patients in hospitals now are the same as one week ago, and COVID patients make up 4.3% of total hospital beds in the state.
Over the last week, an average of 290,296 doses have been administered each day in the state. As of April 10th, 19.4% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.
Senate passed SB 6 and SB 4
The Senate convened last week and passed both Senate Bill 6 and Senate Bill 4. The former bill would expand business liability protections from lawsuits related to the coronavirus pandemic. As expected, the bill was easily passed by a sweeping vote of 29-1. Under SB 6, a person or business can not be held liable for injury or death caused by exposing an individual to a pandemic disease during an emergency. There are some exceptions to the protections of the bill, however. In order to file a lawsuit one must establish that a person who exposed them had knowledge and control over a condition that could likely result in exposure. Otherwise, one must establish that the exposure was caused by a failure to comply with government mandated protocols. Finally, the claimant must establish that reasonable scientific evidence illustrates that either of the previous two conditions caused the contraction of illness. The Texas senate also passed Senate Bill 4, also known as The Star Spangled Banner Protection Act. This bill requires sports teams that are sponsored by the state contractually to play the national anthem at its sporting events. SB 4 passed with a vote of 28-2.
House Passes HB 5
The Texas house overwhelmingly passed House Bill 5 last week by unanimous vote. This bill relates to the expansion of broadband services to certain areas. Given that many have been impacted by connectivity issues in the wake of expanded online services during the pandemic, this bill would propose solutions to some of these issues in both rural and urban areas. Some of these solutions include the creation of a broadband development office, as well as the creation of a broadband map. The map would serve to aid in the identification of communities with less than 80% that have access to broadband services. Finally, HB 5 would establish a program to award grants and loans to aid the expansion of broadband in Texas.
Senate Passes Bill to Change Primary Election Dates to Prepare for Delays Caused by Redistricting
Last week, the senate approved a bill that would alter the dates of the Texas primary in response to expected redistricting delays. The bill, SB 1822, was written by Sen. Joan Huffman (R) of Houston. The bill would establish temporary preparations that may be set off depending on the outcome of this year’s redistricting process. If required, the The primary would be held on April 5, and the runoff on June 21, if a redistricting plan becomes law between November 23 and on or before January 3. The filing period would run January 10-24. If a redistricting plan becomes law between January 4 and February 14, the primary would be held on May 24, and the runoff on July 26. The filing period would run from February 21 through March 7. Furthermore, the bill would give the Secretary of State the power to set dates if a redistricting plan becomes law following these deadlines.
Abbott Posited Yesterday on Fox News Said Texas is Near Herd Immunity, However the Numbers Show a Different Status
Yesterday, Texas governor Greg Abbott said that the state was “very close” to achieving herd immunity against the novel coronavirus. However, the actual numbers of COVID-19 cases tell a very different story. While, Texas has surpassed the national average in terms of senior vaccinations, the state has overall underachieved — ranking 45th in the overall percentage of people vaccinated. Nationally, the average percentage of vaccinations for those over 18 has been around 25 percent, with Texas falling behind at just 23 percent. However, the data has been somewhat unclear overall, with demographic and geographical challenges, with state officials shifting blame on a lag in data. That being said, in order to reach Abbott’s claim of herd immunity, health officials have posited that between 75% and 90% of Texans must be immunized.
There are 52 days left in the session. The House and Senate both convened at 2PM today, and both have several bills on their calendars.