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Aug 13

August 13, 2020 TML Coronavirus Update #103

Posted on August 13, 2020 at 4:33 PM by TML Staff

Urgent Updates


How many Texans have been infected with the novel Coronavirus thus far?


This answer leaves zero room for humor. According to The Texas Tribune (which analyzed Texas Department of State Health Services data):


“On March 4, DSHS reported Texas’ first positive case of the coronavirus, in Fort Bend County. The patient had recently traveled abroad. A month later on April 4, there were 6,110 cases in 151 counties. As of Aug. 12, there are 506,820 cases in 250 counties.”


The article includes an interactive Texas map showing cases and deaths by county. From our perspective, that map might best explain the differing thoughts about the virus among city officials and Texans in general. Where you live, to a great extent, seems to showcase one’s experience with it. (That’s certainly not true in all cases.)


For example, Travis County (Austin) has more than 23,000 confirmed cases and almost 300 deaths. But head west into adjacent Blanco County. It has 114 confirmed cases and five deaths. Continue northwest into Llano County, and the numbers drop to 89 and 1. The driving distance between the City of Austin and the City of Llano is less than 100 miles, yet the latter has four-tenths of one percent the number of cases as the former.


It seems logical that those who see hardly any trace of the virus where they live may not be on as high alert as those who do. The Texas Tribune included these disclaimers related to the DSHS data:


-“The state data comes from 57 city and county health departments, about 600 hospitals and 340 laboratories and the state vital records registration. It may not represent all cases of the disease given limited testing.”


-“In order to publish data quickly, the state has to bypass what is normally a months-long process of reviewing the COVID-19 data and performing quality checks before publishing. That’s why all of these numbers and information are provisional and subject to change.”


What’s going on with the President’s Executive Order relating to unemployment benefits?


According to The Texas Tribune, “President Trump’s senior aides acknowledged on Tuesday (August 11) that they are providing less financial assistance for the unemployed than the president initially advertised amid mounting blowback from state officials of both parties.”


The President originally explained the order as providing a benefit of $400 per week, with 75 percent coming from the federal government and a 25 percent mandatory state match. The $400 would replace the $600 Congress initially allocated through legislation that expired last week.


“We modified slightly the mechanics of the deal,” said White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow.


The “slight modification to the mechanics” of the original plan guarantees only an extra $300 per week for unemployed Americans. States will not be required to add anything to their existing state benefit programs to qualify for the federal benefit. Even though the plan is changing, any additional benefit will be good news for the over three million unemployed Texans. Unfortunately, according to the The Texas Tribune, federal funds to pay even the reduced benefit may run out in just a few weeks.


Further Updates


Where can I find archived issues of the TML Coronavirus Updates?


TML Coronavirus Updates are archived by date here and by subject here.