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Thursday, December 30, 2021

Status report Covid 19 in Texas at end of 2021

 From my vantage point in Houston everything I see here validates my decision to urge a relative not to travel here  from Paris for Christmas. 

Cases soar and  emergency rooms are packed,Drug stores have sold out of the home antigen tests and the state is out of (or almost out of ) the only antibody treatment that is effective for Omicron (sotrovimab). Houston's county health agency urges people to not go to the ERs to get a covid tests and to use masks in congregate settings.

The Texas Medical Center reported for the week of December 20th a positivity rate of 15.4 % versus  6.2% for the previous week and  201 Covid admission versus 101 the previous week. 

The two prescription medications approved by the FDA for out patient treatment of Covid 19 are yet to arrive in the state . A number of eateries have closed due to the lack of staff and New Year's Eve is approaching and from what I see mask wearing is not prevalent, The Christmas church services  whose live streams I sampled did not seem to require masking in spite of the recommendation of the CDC and county health authorities. By contrast the Pope's Christmas mass had everyone wearing a mask. 

On a positive note, a number of centers have been designated to administer Evusheld, This is an antibody cocktail to be given IM every six months to prevent infection in immunocompromised patients which received an EUA in early December.

President Biden has just said there is not a "federal solution" to the developing crisis and defers to the state Governors. Residents of Texas may find little comfort in that as Govenor Abbott has by executive action and legislation taken steps to minimize masks use by schools and vaccine mandates by state schools and by businesses. I hope  I am wrong but Texans are not likely to see Covid mitigation actions coming from Austin. By contrast the govenor of Connecticut  has ordered the national guard to  distribute N 95 masks and antigen test kits.

Apparently both the Delta strain and the Omicron variant are circulating, one being much more contagious and the other more virulent  and physicians have no quick way of distinguishing between the two. 

All we can do is pull up the draw bridge and hope to not have a medical emergency and not deplete too much psychic energy lamenting and asking the question how  could the richest country in the world end up where we are now. 

Addendum 12/31/21.As of 12/31/21 Walmart and Sam's Club Pharmacies in Texas have both Paxlovid and Molnupiravir available with prescription from physician.