As Texas hit its highest daily rate for COVID cases since February, Governor Abbott was playing the violin, seemingly oblivious. He tweeted, "A great Day in Austin County. These group of patriots are doing their part to keep Texas RED."
The tweet accompanied by a photo of the Texas Governor smiling and playing violin certainly earned the wrath of many Texans on Twitter.
"Why would you tweet 'great day' when the hospitals are filled with people suffering from the pandemic you've handled so poorly? More children in the ICU than anytime since the start. 99% of them unvaccinated. @EdOznerol
Many compared Governor Abbott to the infamous Roman Emperor Nero. According to history, Nero played the fiddle as his city burned. There were comparisons to Abbott playing the violin in Austin as Austin hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID patients.
As Abbott posted the pictures, ICU wards in a five-county area that includes the Texas capital of Austin neared capacity with 184 COVID-19 patients. There are only 200 ICU total beds available in the hospitals.
The city of Austin is distributing an automated phone message in both English and Spanish urging residents to get vaccinated, stay home, and wear face masks. Austin has moved back to Stage 5 restrictions. Modeling done by the University of Texas says the city has a 92 percent chance of reaching ICU capacity by the end of August. It also said that a school with 100 in-person students would have a 94 percent chance that an infected student would be on campus when school returns on August 23.
“The COVID-19 situation in Austin is dire. Health care facilities are open, but resources are limited due to a surge in cases.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler has been critical of Abbott. This weekend he said, "our current crisis could have been avoided if Gov. Abbott had not barred local government authorities from issuing mandates on masking. Our hospitals are strained. It is vital that everyone gets vaccinated and wears a mask."
Of course, Austin is not alone in seeing a tragic surge in COVID cases. For example, last week, an 11-month-old baby with COVID was turned away from five hospitals in Houston due to a lack of pediatric beds in the city.
“Hospitalisations across the Texas Medical Center are escalating at a pace we have not observed since the highest Covid-19 peak in summer 2020. The impact of unvaccinated individuals is widespread and encouraging the continued spread of Covid-19.”Texas Medical Center CEO Bill McKeon
COVID data from Johns Hopkins shows that Texas has registered 222 428 new coronavirus cases in the past month, sadly resulting in 1094 deaths.
Despite the increase in cases and the extreme pressure on the Texas hospital system, Abbott has remained firm in refusing to bring back a mask mandate. Given the current situation, his tweet does seem ill-timed and perhaps tone-deaf, as many Texans are worried that COVID is overrunning the state.
Readers, what do you think? Are the comparisons between Nero and Abbott accurate? Do you think he should be focusing on getting the COVID pandemic back under control in Texas? Do you think he is more focused on the 2022 midterms and seeking a third term as Governor of Texas?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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