Covid Confirms Comeback in Texas
with Most Cases Since Mask Repeal

Capitol Inside
July 22, 2021

The delta variant has thrown a curve ball into the rollicking Texas reopening with a sharp spike in new COVID-19 confirmed cases that reached the highest point on Thursday since the day Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask order on March 2.

The number of people who are hospitalized with coronavirus infections around the state was higher this afternoon than it had been at any point since March 18 as a metric that's always been two weeks behind the daily case count.

The state recorded 6,417 new covid cases that had been confirmed and 1,895 more that are listed as probable. Texas had 3,692 people in hospitals around the state with coronavirus infections on Thursday afternoon.

But the loudest alarms may be going off in the Republican governor's office where the pandemic has gone largely ignored beyond its political significance since Abbott declared December to be the 9th inning for the covid crisis in Texas.

The resurgence has nightmare potential for Abbott in particular as a consequence of some risky showboating on Texas Independence Day when he repealed the mask mandate amid massive fanfare and proclamation that the state was fully open for business with the coronavirus no longer a significant threat.

The timing of the mask maneuver was widely criticized by medical experts and local officials - with Democratic President Joe Biden landing the most stinging blow with his charcaterization of Abbott as neanderthal. But Abbott viewed himself as vindicated eventually when an upswing in covid cases that had been expected failed to materialize.

The governor had been willing to gamble substantial political capital on an apparent belief that the virus would continue to fizzle with the vaccine and the Democrats in charge in Washington D.C. after Donald Trump's chronic mishandling of the contagion and perpetual denial for a year.

The timing of a relapse could not be worse for Abbott and the Republicans at a time when they have their hands full with a special session that's been doomed to fail for weeks as a product of quroum-busting walkout by Texas House Democrats who've been in Washington D.C. for more than a week.

GOP leaders and lawmakers in Austin have sought to capitalize on the pandemic with proposals to restrict government authority without any apparent interest in tackling serious deficiencites in the health care system that the virus has exposed. Abbott and the Republicans have continued their steadfast opposition to an expansion of Medicaid that's costing Texas billions of dollars every year as the price of a statement of their disdain for Obamacare.

The new outbreak got under way in the wake of the Fourth of July weekend when people who'd been vaccinated returned in full force to the ball games, beaches, lakes, parks and movie theaters here.

A substantial number of people who've been testing positive for the various forms of covid are Republicans who've refused to be vaccinated as a gesuture of defiance or and fear based on misinformation or both.

more to come ...



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