Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Monday, July 19th (11:50 AM data)
Confirmed Cases – 2,577,197 (889 new cases)
Hospitalizations – 3,046 (10,671 available beds, 740 available ICU beds)
Fatalities – 51,652 (1 new death)
Vaccine Data – Monday, July 19th (1:00 PM data)
Doses Shipped by state – 21,611,530
People vaccinated – 14,330,172
People fully vaccinated – 12,390,267
Total doses administered – 25,695,201
Inside the Numbers
Positivity rate as of Sunday, July 18th was 10.08%. One month ago, there were 387 new cases reported, one week ago there were 2,600 new cases reported, compared to the 889 reported yesterday. The 3,046 COVID patients in hospitals now is 946 more patients compared to one week ago, and COVID patients make up 4.8% of total hospital beds in the state.
Over the last week, an average of 48,222 doses have been administered each day in the state. As of Sunday, July 18th 42.7% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.
6th Texas Democrat in DC Tests Positive for COVID
Despite 100% of the Democrats who fled to D.C. in an effort to block a state GOP voting bill being vaccinated, 6 of them have now tested positive for COVID-19. The sixth member has been identified as Rep. Donna Howard, from the Austin area. She is the latest member of the delegation to test positive since Friday, and is now self-isolating. Although Vice President Kamala Harris met with the Texas Democrats last week, it has been determined that her and her staff were not exposed to those who tested positive and will not self-isolate. The group is hopeful to meet with President Biden this week.
The members In DC are using the time to have virtual meetings with guest speakers and interested parties, and continue to proclaim that they will remain in DC throughout the remainder of the special session.
Texas’ Positivity Rate for COVID -19 Exceeds 10% for First Time Since February
According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Texas’ positivity rate has crossed a 10% “red zone” threshold. The positivity rate hasn’t been this high since February. In mid-June the rate was as low as 2.8%. statewide, meaning that this spike has happened rapidly. Hospitalizations continue to increase as well. Experts believe this rampant spread is due to the highly transmissible delta variant of COVID-19. The spread has occurred almost exclusively in unvaccinated communities. Slightly more than 40% of Texans are fully vaccinated, with the number of vaccines being administered on a daily basis remaining at levels far below the numbers in January when the vaccines were first introduced. Data from the CDC suggests that 99.5% of recent COVID deaths have occurred in the unvaccinated. Further, hospital data show that less than 1% of patients currently hospitalized with COVID are vaccinated.
Oil Prices Plunge
Oil prices dropped significantly earlier this week after major global oil producers came to a compromise about supply and after U.S. data showed demand fell in the most recent week. Crude prices had surged over the spring months to highs not seen in nearly three years, but have been choppy lately on worries about a pickup in supply.
As of Monday, West Texas Intermediate crude fell 8% and settled in at $65.79 a barrel. Less than two weeks ago, oil prices were consistently hovering at $75 a barrel, with some speculating that they could rise to $100 a barrel. On Sunday, OPEC moved to increase production by 400,000 barrels a day in an attempt to recover the nearly 6 million barrels it cut at the beginning of the pandemic last year. The decision seems to come at a bad time, when the growing threat of a fourth surge could lead to new rounds of economic and travel restrictions.
Political Quick Hits
- The race for the vacant Congressional District 6, based in the Arlington area, is a week from today. State Rep. Jake Ellzey is up against Susan Wright, the widow of the recently deceased incumbent. Wright was given the advantage, but Ellzey’s recent fundraising numbers along with the endorsement of the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram will make this a very tight contest next week
- State Rep. Matt Krause, Republican from Fort Worth, says he is considering a primary challenge to incumbent Attorney General Ken Paxton. He would join a crowded Republican field. Land Commissioner George P Bush and former Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman have already announced challenges to Paxton
- State Rep. Michelle Beckley, a Democrat from Denton, announced today that she will challenge one term incumbent Republican Beth Van Duyne for Congress next year. Van Duyne, from Irving, is a target for the national Democratic party. Beckley is one of the state House Democrats in DC for the quorum break, and first won her state House seat in 2018 by defeating incumbent Republican Ron Simmons of Carrollton.
- Former state Republican Party Chairman Allen West, now a challenger to Gov. Greg Abbott, received his first endorsement from a state level elected official this week. Rep. Kyle Biedermann, Republican from Fredericksburg announced he will support West in the primary next year. Biedermann says that West will provide effective and proactive conservative leadership.
As the House lacks a quorum, the Senate has passed most of the issues set out on the initial call of the special session, and now stands in recess until Thursday. The House is standing at ease, coming in briefly every day to say an opening prayer and hand out daily leave slips for the members present in the chamber. With the call on the House still pending, Republican members are asked to stay close to the Capitol in case some or all of the Democrats decide to come back.