Texas Seizes Lead in National Covid Count
Despite Massive California Disadvantages
By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor
October 27, 2020
Texas surpassed California on Tuesday in the total count of coronavirus cases in the past eight months in yet another major public relations blow at the worst possible time for the Republicans who are staggering down the final stretch of an election that could be their last hurrah in the most lucrative battleground state.
The Lone Star State that President Donald Trump hailed as model for the nation in May is sizzling with COVID-19 again as a testament in October to the fallacy of his claims on the virus going away in the nick of time before the final votes are cast one week from today.
The New York Times virus trackers pegged the cumulative Texas tally of infections throughout the pandemic at 916,450 compared to 913,583 in California just seven days before the wildest election in American history comes to an end at the polls next Tuesday.
California - a state that Texas Republicans have constantly portrayed as inferior - has more than 10 million more residents than the Lone Star State with the second highest population density in the nation. Texas in stark contrast has a population that's spread out more than any other major state in the USA.
But California has recorded 2,312 covid infections for every 100,000 people there while the per capita virus rate here is 3,161 according to the NYT database that's been substantially more credible than the perpetual undercount at the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The DSHS had reported a total of 876,075 cases by Monday night when its counterpart agency in California listed the cumulative count there to be 901,010. The prestigious virus monitoring team at Johns Hopkins University put the contagion-long case count in California at 911,321 on Tuesday when it had Texas with a total of 898,460 infections since the first positive tests here almost nine months ago.
The site Worldometer showed Texas today with 920,454 total cases since the surfacing of the virus here in early March. Worldometer had the cumulative tally in California on Tuesday at 911,023.
Texas is on track to pass California in every cumulative count of coronavirus infections before the general election a week from now. That's terrible advertising for the Texas Republicans at a time when they're already trembling in fear on the prospects of losing the state House majority in the upcoming vote amid the possibility of a Democrat Joe Biden victory here next week.
Covid Act Now - a site that's a collaboration between Harvard, Stanford and Brown University - shows the virus lighting West Texas up like a lantern at Halloween with the disease rising at red alert levels in 14 counties across the state including a dozen that Trump carried in 2016 by wide margins.
With El Paso has the lone exception as a border city that's the state's hottest current spot, nine of the 10 counties with the highest number of new virus infections in Texas in the past week voted Republican at the top of the ticket in the last presidential election.
Biden on the other hand appears on track to win in eight of the 10 Texas counties with the lowest number of new cases in the same span of time.
Trump carried the 11 states where the virus is surging now at the highest rates and 13 of the 15 most infected states heading into the final week before the verdict is delivered on a re-election campaign that appears to need a miracle at this point to survive.
Texas dismal record during the pandemic could be a major liability to economic development and expansion in a Lone Star State where Governor Greg Abbott has directed the covid response with other GOP leaders and lawmakers on the sidelines throughout the pandemic. Corporate interests that rely on educated work forces may have second thoughts of relocating or firing up in a state that's looking increasingly as a bastion of ignorance as a consequence of the embarrassing Texas performance in the face of the greatest challenge in more than a century.
Abbott has been battered with criticism from conservatives for belated and unenforceable statewide mask mandate and other emergency restrictions that have been an imposition for Texans who are offended by the concept of sacrifice for the public good. But the Republican governor - despite a vow to put the public health and safety first - has appeared to make staying out of the Trump line of fire the overriding priority with a sheepish state response that will be part of the cumulative body of evidence that voters will be weighing if they haven't already cast their ballots early.
more to come ...