This Thursday will mark 1,000 days since Governor Greg Abbott declared a public health disaster in Texas, ushering in a period of unprecedented gubernatorial authority for the state’s chief executive in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has been killing Texans daily since March 2020.
Federal Public Health Emergency
As experts warn of another wave of illnesses as families hunker down indoors for the holidays, immunity drops, or virus variants bypass older vaccines, the entire country remains under a federal public health emergency at least until the winter season.
According to KSAT, Texas is still one of only a few states with a statewide declared disaster or public health emergency, despite more than 92,000 deaths and 8 million COVID-19 cases in the 32 months since the proclamation was made.
When tragedy strikes and time is of the essence, the executive branch can act swiftly thanks to the proclamations that give them more authority. Abbott’s executive orders, which are usually not binding, have been given the force of law due to the disaster designation in Texas.
The report also stated that, among other things, he could use them to seize private property and use state and local government resources, evacuate populations and restrict the mobility of the people, and suspend any regulatory act or state agency rule without legislative permission.
Proclamations are expected to lapse in most states in December unless state leaders renew them.
On Dec. 18, when his current 30-day order ends, Abbott will have to decide whether to let it lapse or prolong it until mid-January, a week after the start of the Legislature, for which at least one bill has been filed to weaken the governor’s powers during catastrophes.
Viruses Expected to Rise in Central Texas
The number of people getting sick is predicted to rise during the next three weeks, according to the CDC, due to increased social activity associated with the holidays.
As reported by KXAN, Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), influenza (flu), and COVID-19 are the big three viruses to worry about. Due to an increase in respiratory viruses, several children’s hospitals around the country are at capacity.
Because of the simultaneous rise of so many different viruses, Dr. Meena Iyer, a chief medical officer, warned that it is feasible to contract more than one.
Each virus has a unique treatment plan. Remdesivr and other antiviral drugs treat COVID; Xofluza and Tamiflu treat influenza; however, no treatment exists for RSV.
Children under the age of 2, premature babies, and those with compromised immune systems or preexisting diseases like heart disease or asthma are more likely to contract RSV.
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