April 7, 2020

Texas Could Be Escaping Worst of COVID Wrath
with Head Start Based on NY and CA Experiences

By Mike Hailey
Capitol Inside Editor

Population Divided by Cases and Deaths
New York 140 3,544
New Jersey 200 7,209
Louisiana 285 7,987
Michigan 580 13,737
Connecticut 516 17,307
Washington 908 19,626
Pennsylvania 862 53,341
Illinois 1,036 41,142
Georgia 1,203 32,271
Florida 1,481 75,893
California 2,405 99,527
Ohio 2,444 69,994
Texas 3,413 183,518


The nation's largest red state owes an extreme debt of gratitude to its biggest blue counterparts for a game-changing heads up on the lethal potential of the coronavirus and the most effective ways to minimize the inevitable death and destruction from its rampage here.

While the COVID-19 case and body count here is expected to escalate over the next four weeks, the numbers in Texas are drops in the proverbial bucket compared to the astronomical rate of positive tests and deaths in the state that's anchored by New York City as the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S.

New York has had one confirmed case of coronavirus for every 140 residents there based on a Capitol Inside examination of the running stat count at Johns Hopkins University. One of every 3,413 Texas residents has fallen ill with COVID-19 since the invisible terrorist began unleashing its fury here more than three weeks ago.

New York has had one person die for every 3,544 people who are based in the Empire State. One out of every 183,518 Texans have been killed so far by the novel coronavirus.

But Texas had an advance warning of two weeks or more after NY had been caught by surprise as the first major American hot spot as a consequence of New York City's status as the most densely populated city in the country and the number one international travel destination and center for commerce in the U.S. by far.

Texas had the benefit of the lessons that New York learned the hard way with the Big Apple as the ultimate guinea pig. With the luxury of the leeway that Texas had with New York as the original model, health care professionals here were able to act in proactive fashion in terms of preparedness from doing their best to ensure that hospitals were sufficiently equipped with beds, masks, ventilators and personnel when the invisible terrorist struck.

California - the largest state in the nation with 10 million more residents than Texas has in the number two spot - demonstrated the critical need for people to stay away from each other as the only way to slow the contagion's rapid and ruthless spread. The strategy that Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom implemented on March 19 had been referred to in the media as a lockdown at the time he announced it when 575 people in Californa had tested positive for coronavirus including 16 who died.

Texas is the only major state with lower coronavirus rates than California where one of every 2,405 residents have tested positive for the disease that's left one of every 99,527 people there dead in its path up to now.

The isolation tactic that required the shuttering of businesses that aren't deemed as essential had a new name when local leaders in the Texas cities and counties with the most people issued shelter-in-place orders that were on the same page with the California restrictions.

Most Texans had been hiding out in homes for almost three weeks when Governor Greg Abbott imposed statewide limitations six days ago in a move that sparked a semantics dispute when contended that the decree wasn't a stay-at-home order like such edicts were being referred to at that point in the rapidly evolving coronavirus vernacular.

Whatever the unprecedented policies are called on the record, Texas could end up being one of the top social distancing showcases as a result of decisions by mayors and county judges here to follow the California lead while hospitals scrambled to be ready for a crush of virus victims like New York had never imagined until they started pouring in there.

A University of Washington study that was made public on Tuesday tentatively projected that the coronavirus surge would peak in California eight days before the apex that it guardedly foresees in Texas on May 5. The analysis predicts a COVID-19 climax in New York and neighboring New Jersey this week with rates in hard-hit states like Michigan and Louisiana peaking out in the next few days as well.

But the researchers in Seattle warned that the peak target dates are contingent on strict adherence to social distancing and the restrictions on business operations and recreational activities that states had in place now.

While the worst is yet come in California and Texas, the states with the largest populations appear to have been getting by relatively lightly based on the coronavirus rates that were calculated with Johns Hopkins and census data.

Johns Hopkins had reported 8,420 confirmed cases in Texas by Tuesday night with 158 deaths here.


Copyright 2003-2020 Capitol Inside