Case Counts/Testing in Texas – Wednesday, September 8th (4:05 PM data)
Confirmed Cases – 3,133,016 (25,184 new cases)
Hospitalizations – 13,520 (7,764 available beds, 312 available ICU beds)
Fatalities – 57,524 (286 new deaths)
Vaccine Data – Wednesday, September 8th (2:00 PM data)
Doses Shipped by state – 23,555,550
People vaccinated – 16,693,375
People fully vaccinated – 14,016,519
Total doses administered – 29,543,036
Inside the Numbers
Positivity rate as of Wednesday, September 8th was 14.37%. One month ago, there were 5,400 new cases reported, one week ago there were 17,000 new cases reported, compared to the 25,184 reported yesterday. The 13,520 COVID patients in hospitals now is 375 less patients compared to one week ago, and COVID patients make up 21.2% of total hospital beds in the state.
Over the last week, an average of 80,143 doses have been administered each day in the state. As of Wednesday, September 8th 48.3% of Texans have been fully vaccinated.
Abbott Announces 3rd Special Session to Start September 20th
Gov. Abbott announced on Tuesday that there be a third special session beginning September 20th. In addition to redistricting, Abbott is calling on lawmakers to consider issues related to transgender athletes in public schools, appropriation of $16 billion in federal COVID relief funds, restrictions on the restraint of dogs, and parameters for the issuance of vaccine mandates by state and local governments. This will be the fourth time this calendar year that lawmakers have convened in a legislative session.
A press statement, along with the proclamation declaring the start of the next special session can be found here: https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-announces-third-special-session-date-and-agenda
US Justice Dept. Explores Ways to Challenge Texas’ New Abortion Law
On Monday, the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Department of Justice is “urgently” exploring ways to challenge Texas’ strict new abortion law. He has not specified any tangible options as of yet. Garland’s claims followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to deny Texas abortion providers an emergency injunction against the new state law, that went into effect on September 1st. The law effectively bans abortions after fetal cardiac activity can be detected. This often occurs as early as six weeks into pregnancy, when many don’t know they are pregnant. Although the Supreme Court said it was not ruling on the constitutionality of the law, it’s refusal to block it allows the law to stay in place.
Several Lawsuits Filed Following Abbott Signing New Texas “Election Integrity” Bill into Law
Gov. Abbott signed SB 1, the “voter suppression” or “election integrity” bill – depending on your point of view – into law on Tuesday. The law has been highly controversial since its inception and has been widely criticized as an attempt to make it more challenging for certain Texans to vote. Despite there being no evidence of widespread voter fraud in recent state elections, preventing fraud was made a priority by the Texas GOP during regular and special legislative sessions. Back in July, House Democrats left the state for Washington, D.C., to prevent the bill’s passage.
Senate Bill 1, advertised by state Republicans as a way to secure Texas elections, will force several changes to elections operations. Among these changes will be bans on 24-hour polling places, increased ID requirements, restrictions on drive-through voting and limiting voting by mail. Additionally, the bill will allow partisan poll watchers to observe at polling sites and will make it a criminal offense for local officials to send voters applications for mail-in ballots.
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, LULAC Texas, Voto Latino, and the Alliance for Retired Texans have all filed lawsuits challenging the law, alleging the new law violates the federal Voting Rights Act, the American with Disabilities Act, the Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Protection Clause of the US Constitution.
COVID Surge Continues, Hospitalizations Leveling Off
While the surge of infections continue, overall patient numbers for hospitalizations for the state have begun to level off. For the last several days, the numbers of patients hospitalized for COVID related issues has remained around 13,500, slightly below the peak number of 14,100 that was reached in January. The positivity rate has also been declining as of late, staying below 15% for the last several days.
However, the number of children hospitalized has reached an all-time high of 345. That number was reached on Saturday. School reopening and pandemic fatigue are the main cause of the surge among our youth. At least 45 small school districts have been forced to temporarily stop in person classes as a result of the latest surge. This shutdown has affected about 42,000 students in the state, and are mostly from rural communities where vaccination rates are low.
The House and Senate Redistricting committees are meeting this week and next, seeking public input on the redistricting process. A full list of the hearing dates can be found here: https://capitol.texas.gov