Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Sunday, January 10th (4:00 PM data)
Total Tests Performed – 19,975,681
Confirmed Cases – 1,716,854 (12,954 new cases)
Active Cases – 350,164
Hospitalizations – 13,111 (8,108 available beds, 506 available ICU beds)
Fatalities – 29,877 (186 new deaths)
Recovered Cases – 1,558,945
Vaccine Data – Sunday, January 10th (12:55 PM data)
Doses Shipped by state – 1,566,500
People with one dose received – 687,846
People fully vaccinated – 64,478
Total doses administered – 752,324
Inside the Numbers
Positivity rate as of Saturday, January 9th was 19.15%. One month ago, there were 13,300 new cases reported, one week ago there were 26,500 new cases reported, compared to the 12,954 reported yesterday. The 7 day average has increased by 5,129 cases. The 13,111 COVID patients in hospitals now are 549 more than one week ago, and COVID patients make up 22.5% of total hospital beds in the state.
Legislature to Gavel in Tomorrow
The 87th Regular Session of the Texas Legislature is scheduled to gavel in at noon tomorrow at the state Capitol. They will do so in a much more subdued fashion due to the pandemic. On a day normally filled with parties and receptions both inside and outside of the Capitol, the House and Senate will gavel in with very few outside guests allowed to attend the ceremonies in each chamber. Face masks and COVID testing will replace the festive atmosphere that usually comes with the opening day of session. The House is expected to select Rep. Dade Phelan, a Republican from Beaumont, as their new Speaker. Members will likely return Wednesday and possibly Thursday to attend to the business of organizing the chambers for business, and review suggested protocols on how the Legislature will function during the age of social distancing and crowd limitations.
The Capitol is open, and the public is welcome tomorrow, subject to capacity limitations. Free testing is available at the north entrance to the Capitol, and masks must be worn at all times inside the building. All Senate and House proceedings are carried live on their respective websites:
The session can last no more than 140 days, and is scheduled to conclude on Memorial Day, May 31st. The only must pass bill this year is the state budget, but members will also be faced with other issues such as election reform, Medicaid expansion, criminal justice reform, and redistricting.
Comptroller Releases Revenue Estimate
Comptroller Glenn Hegar announced earlier today that lawmakers will have slightly less available revenue for the upcoming two year budget cycle. Lawmakers will write the budget for the 2022-23 biennium when they convene this session. Hegar said that a total of $112.5 billion will be available, which is a decrease of only 0.4% from available funds this time two years ago. In addition to the revenue available for the upcoming budget, Hegar said lawmakers will face a deficit of $1 billion for the current state budget, meaning that lawmakers will have to come up with the additional $1 billion to meet current spending commitments for the fiscal year ending in August. The decreases are not good news, but the news is not nearly as dire as what was once anticipated due to the economic hardships caused by the pandemic.
With the lower amount of dollars with which to work, lawmakers will have the option of tapping into the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund. The Fund was created after the oil crash of the 1980’s to aid the state in difficult budget circumstances. Hegar said the fund will have over $11 billion available for the upcoming biennium if they choose to utilize the fund.
Abbott Gives Update on Vaccine Rollout
At a noon press conference in Arlington today, Gov. Abbott promised bigger allotments of the vaccines in the weeks and months to come, acknowledging a difficult and disappointing rollout so far. Twenty-eight vaccination hubs will now begin to receive most of the state’s next shipment arriving this week. The goal is to have the number of people vaccinated to be increased by 50,000 per day. The hubs will collectively receive 158,825 doses this week, with an additional 38,000 doses going to 206 additional providers in rural areas of the state. Furthermore, the state expects to receive an additional 310,000 doses per week for the remainder of January. A list of the vaccination hub providers can be found here: https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/immunize/vaccine-hubs.aspx
Even though the rollout has not been as smooth as expected, according to the CDC, Texas has administered the first dose to more people than any other state in the nation. The problem lies with the fact that demand is far more than the available supply. Through the Phase 1A and !B portions of the plan, nearly 8 million Texans are currently eligible for the vaccine. But as of yesterday’s numbers, only about 1.5 million doses had been received and shipped to providers by the state.
Cruz, Others Still Facing Criticism
In addition to calls from many Democrats in Washington and Texas to resign, the Houston Chronicle in a Sunday editorial also called for the resignation of the junior Senator from Texas for his alleged role in the riots and upheaval at the nation’s Capitol last week. The San Antonio Express News has called for Cruz to be expelled from the Senate. Not just the media and politicos are calling for action to be taken against Senator Cruz. More than 5,000 law students throughout the country have signed a petition asking for his disbarment, citing his efforts to “undermine that peaceful transition of power after a free and fair election…” The petition was started by Yale law school students and has received the 5,000 signatures after only 48 hours of being posted.
In addition to calls for a resignation for Cruz, there are now demands for censure for the sixteen Republican members of the Texas US House delegation for continuing to support the overturning of the Electoral College vote even after the disturbances at the Capitol. US Rep. Roger Williams, whose district runs from Fort Worth to western Travis County, is facing calls from leaders of the TCU community to be removed from the university’s board of trustees. Williams is a graduate of TCU and has sat on their board of trustees since 2002.