Texans are sick and dying because of the Republican Party’s malicious and self-serving COVID-19 policies. On Aug. 27, Galveston County hit the highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, even though we now have both vaccines and masks to fight back.

But Gov. Greg Abbott and Republicans support neither masks nor life-saving vaccines. Abbott has banned school districts from instituting mask mandates. He and the Republican Party have argued these measures infringe on our freedom, but what freedom are they really protecting? The freedom to infect our fellow citizens with a fatal disease?

We must defeat this virus. A long-standing principle is that when your freedom endangers others, the state should act to protect citizen safety. However, not only did Abbott deny the pandemic, he blamed undocumented immigrants, falsely claiming that hordes of people are pouring across our borders and spewing the virus.

No evidence supports this argument — it’s designed to distract from his poor mismanagement of COVID that has resulted in the loss of many Texans’ lives. Instead of using COVID relief funds to encourage vaccination, a clear solution to COVID, Abbott focuses on spreading misinformation.

This points to a larger pattern of Texas Republicans, including County Judge Mark Henry, embracing distractions. Their clear priority is to use the pandemic as a political opportunity, a chance to keep their base riled up.

The novel idea of using funds to encourage Texans to mask up and get themselves vaccinated is just too politically unattractive for the Republicans to imagine.

Encouraging false conspiracy theories isn’t the way to defeat the pandemic. Texas Republicans offer no “real” solution. Their plan is that people should “tough it out” regardless of the number of Texans who grow sick and die.

Even though Republicans always champion local control as a way to make government more responsive, Abbott is intent on taking the weapons from the hands of Texans through banning mask mandates and discouraging vaccination.

That’s our Republican Party — changing its values based on what’s politically lucrative, not on what’s actually good for Texans.

Democrats offer a realistic, common-sense solution. Give Texans the tools to control the virus. Allow schools, businesses and other organizations to require people to be vaccinated. Political leaders should encourage everyone to vaccinate themselves and their families.

Free every Texan from the virus by working together to develop smart strategies, like mask requirements. Allow local entities to develop their own policies for their specific area.

Once the pandemic has been defeated, life can return to a more “normal” pattern. Republican leadership from Austin has been based in an ideological fantasy world, which is why the virus has made a comeback. Texans are divided, not focused on working together to solve this problem.

Democrats stand for doing the right things, things that will destroy the power of COVID-19 forever. Let’s unite as Texans to save lives, reduce suffering and get back to normal.

Successfully, this time.

Tierrishia Gibson is chairwoman of the Galveston County Democratic Party.

Locations

Recommended for you

(30) comments

Carlos Ponce

Chairwoman Galveston County Democratic Party -That explains this nonsense.

Now let's hear from a REAL medical doctor:

The Covid death rate is at an all-time low. "That's very good news for us" said Dr. Robin Armstrong, "As a hospital physician I see lots of Covid patients, but when you look at the statistics, most people now are surviving as opposed to the first go-around."

That would include kids, despite the fact that they have been used as pawns for school districts that want to issue mask mandates. "Children don't need to wear masks" Dr. Armstrong told KTRH, "We don't need to have lockdowns, we need to have kids in schools, it's healthier for them."

Charles Douglas

Hordes of incoming illegals freely flooding across the border infected with COVID will not spread the disease? I stand down on this. This tells me all I need to know.

Jim Forsythe

Texas has seen nearly 9,000 COVID-19 deaths since February. All but 43 were unvaccinated people.

“This surge is by far the fastest and most aggressive that we've seen. Almost all of our hospitalizations are due to unvaccinated patients developing severe illness,” Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County’s health authority said. “ICU staff are seeing a younger population in our hospitals. Patients in the ICU are sicker and stay in the hospital longer than with prior surges, putting more strain on hospital resources.

Sep 06, 2021 · Central Texas had no available intensive care unit beds on Sunday.

During the week ending on Aug. 12, 75 Texas hospitals reported that their ICU beds were filled to capacity.

Jim Forsythe

UTMB Galveston

08/27/21=ICU Beds-155.7 of 157.7 beds used

Adult inpatient beds-602.3 of 621.1 beds used

Carlos Ponce

Were all beds taken up by pandemic patients? No. According to Dan Freeman, "Currently 173 patients with COVID in UTMB hospitals"

UTMB hospitals include Jennie Sealy, John Sealy, the Children's Hospital, the Victory Lakes UTMB Campus and the League City UTMB Campus.

Jim Forsythe

At Jennie Sealy Hospital in Galveston, Texas, front-line workers said, they feel "hopeless" amid this latest surge, particularly given the fact that among those with the virus currently being treated in the ICU, all but one patient, who is immunocompromised, are unvaccinated. About two-thirds of the hospital's ICU patients are COVID-19 positive.

"There are many patients that are not doing well," said Dr. Shawn Nishi, an associate professor of critical care medicine at UTMB.

"You will see the nurses' faces. They are the heart and soul of this institution, but a little bit of them is dying with every patient," Nishi said. "Half the COVID-19 patients right now are younger than I am. ... That's never, ever happened in my career. Now, I'm not that old, so that will tell you the average age of our patient is very, very young. We're not used to taking care of that population -- emotionally, physically."

Jim Forsythe

Our ICU's are full. Hope no one, including myself needs a ICU bed!

HCA HOUSTON HEALTHCARE CLEAR LAKE (WEBSTER, TX) 72.6 of 78.3 ICU beds used

KINDRED HOSPITAL CLEAR LAKE Long Term-10.1 of 12.0 ICU beds used

CHI ST LUKE'S HEALTH BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE -116.9 of 128.1 ICU beds used

HOUSTON METHODIST ST JOHN HOSPITAL , NASSAU BAY, TX-14.0 of 14.1 ICU beds used

BRAZOSPORT REGIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM LAKE JACKSON, 7.9 of 8.0 ICU beds used

HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITAL 153.7 of 154.7 ICU beds used

MEMORIAL HERMANN TEXAS MEDICAL CENTER 167.1 of 174.1 beds ICU beds used

Carlos Ponce

Speaking with someone who is in the know about Jennie Sealy, the problem is not with the number of available rooms but with a staffing shortage.

Carlos Ponce

Jim posts, "Our ICU's are full." But not all ICU patients have the Chinese Virus. ICUs existed long before the pandemic. There are OTHER reasons for being there. DUH!

Jim Forsythe

You can look at the numbers for what ever ICU you want, and almost all will be close to 95% full or more. Tie this with the shortage of staff, and we have a problem that is not going to get better any time soon. The hospital does not shut down, but just increase overtime. If you have never worked 7 days a week 12 hours a day for over a year, you may not have a good grasp of why they nurses are leaving. At that point, money does not matter.

If I was a nurse today, I would be a tempted with offers like this. "Texas Emergency Hospital has lost experienced nurses to recruiters offering $20,000 signing bonuses and $140 per hour wages"

But more than pay, is burnout, early retirements, career changes . Some of the nurses I know have transferred to other parts of the hospital they work at. They hove told me, that they can no longer handle the ICU floor because of burnout.

It would be bad enough to be in the hospital due to COVID-19, but another factor would be the cost and the possible loss of wages, if you work. The median cost for a hospital stay without insurance is about $49,168 and $234,732 with an ICU or ventilator. If you have insurance and you pay part of the bill, the median cost is around $23,787 for a hospital stay and goes up to $115,497 for ICU or being on a ventilator. Also remember that COVID-19 stays in the ICUs, are longer and are more costly.

Dr. Mark Casanova, a palliative care specialist in Dallas and a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force. “This is the fourth round of what should have been a three-round fight. We do have very sincere concerns that the numbers game is going to overwhelm us.”

Carlos Ponce

Jim still doesn't get it. People are admitted to the ICU for other than the pandemic.

Jim Forsythe

This is what I get. The ICUs are full. As of Aug 17, 2021:More than 40 percent of intensive care units in Galveston County were being used by COVID-19 patients, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Advisory Council.

I hope no one get's sick and need emergency care, as your wait for care, could be many days.

The surge, driven primarily by serious illness among unvaccinated people, is forcing delays in treatment for other health conditions and means people are sometimes forced to wait as many as two days for admission at some emergency rooms. The crunch is being felt at University of Texas Medical Branch hospitals, said Dr. Gulshan Sharma, the medical branch’s chief medical officer.

Carlos Ponce

"As of Aug 17, 2021:More than 40 percent of intensive care units in Galveston County were being used by COVID-19 patients..." So the majority 60% are being used by non-Chinese Virus patients.

Jim Forsythe

The first phase of care rationing has started, with the restriction of no elective surgery's.

The next step will be having to chose between the many, who will get the beds. This is happening in some part of the USA, and if we do not reduce the increase in Covid19, it will happen in Texas.

Carlos, please answer the question on how you think we should ration care, because we are headed to care rationing in the near future. The number I posted, 40% in the ICUs were Covid19 people, was 4% lower at 36% just a few weeks ago. If nothing changes, it will continue to increase, which will force, care rationing!

When hospitals are overwhelmed with unvaccinated adult COVID-19 patients, limiting their ability to provide medical care for some, how might hospitals ration care?

The debate over care rationing has grown more urgent as COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise, especially in those regions of the U.S. with lower levels of vaccination.

Those who need ICUs and respirators aren't just people showing up at ERs with COVID-19. " Khary Payton tweeted on August 30 that his father, DR. Payton, couldn't get treatment for a rare form of leukemia because transplant wards were being used for COVID-19 ICU overflow.

"A lot of people who don't trust doctors, didn't get vaccinated and wouldn't wear a mask but they went ahead and took my dad's bed when they got so sick they could barely breathe," Payton said on Twitter. "Now my pop's life is in the balance."

Jim Forsythe

Many states have a plan in place, like Maryland's.

A Maryland care rationing task force that developed one of the existing large-scale plans for medical triage – also known as crisis standards of care – during a catastrophic public health emergency.

The Maryland plan presciently noted "modeling studies suggest that an influenza pandemic similar to that of 1918 would require intensive care unit (ICU) and mechanical ventilation capacity that is many orders of magnitude greater than what is available."

Care rationing isn't merely about the number of hospital beds in the ICU, or the number of respirators available for patients who can't breathe on their own. Care is also limited by the number of skilled staff needed to run the highly specialized equipment that makes previously terminal conditions potentially survivable.

Carlos Ponce

"Carlos, please answer the question on how you think we should ration care,"

Why? This is your problem.

Dana Conner

Why do we need more divisiveness? This article blames Republicans for more covid. Anyone with sense can get a vaccine and wear a mask. To blame any party for spreading the virus is idiotic. Republicans or whoever are not to blame. Personal choice is involved. Don't jump on the bandwagon of government telling you what to do, just go with your conscience and do what is right.

Carlos Ponce

"Why do we need more divisiveness? " It's a Saul Alinsky tactic, adopted by the current Democratic Party:

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

George Croix

I think it was an excellent article for its intended purpose, and should be credited as such….

Credit should always be given to subject matter experts, including that of ideological fantasy worlds……

David Hardee

No evidence the author says! She wrote, "not only did Abbott deny the pandemic, he blamed undocumented immigrants, falsely claiming that hordes of people are pouring across our borders and spewing the virus." Is the author unaware of report or intentionally ignoring -

August 7 - NBC news reports - 18 percent of migrant families leaving Border Patrol custody tested positive for Covid, document says

In addition, over 25 percent of migrants recently scheduled for some “expedited” deportation flights tested positive, says a document obtained by NBC News. And this from Homeland Security agency report might enlighten this author.

What GAO Found

According to data from the Department of Homeland Security's U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), through February 2021, over 7,000 Office of Field Operations (OFO) and U.S. Border Patrol employees reported being infected with COVID-19, and 24 died due to COVID-19-related illnesses. In addition, over 20,000 OFO and Border Patrol employees were unable to work at some point due to COVID-19-related illnesses or quarantining in the same time period. OFO officials noted that employee absences due to COVID-19 did not generally have a significant impact on port operations, given relatively low travel volumes. In contrast, officials interviewed by GAO at three of four Border Patrol locations said that COVID-19 absences had impacted operations to some extent.

This article is just another of the quick - nonsense - from a progressive liberal that with the attraction of the pandering instead of thinking voted for Biden,

These articles based on fabrications of a Republican scheme, of course should be allowed, but have at least something more substantial then a figment of imagination.

Author claims "Abbott focuses on spreading misinformation." Either produce evidence for that claim or at least preference it with "I think." That statement, "spreading misinformation" by the author is actually, an unreasonable opinion and the lowest form of misinformation.

Abbott and Biden, most likely are performing to the best of their ability to do what is good for the USA/Texas citizens. The only difference is that Abbott knows what qualifies as a citizen and Biden is so demented that there is no qualification for citizenship. This is not an opinion about Biden because, despite the squiring to manipulate, we are visualizing from the border cameras hordes of invaders. Biden and his cabal are with gusto allowing virus infected illegals to invade, and additionally, is importing aliens, while abandoning USA citizens to the dangers of barbarian Taliban treatment.

domenico nuckols

Great article. Trumpers, why UTMB full?

Carlos Ponce

domenico, my relatives who work at UTMB say the hospital is not full.

domenico nuckols

I sit corrected

Dan Freeman

From the UTMB administration:

Sep 7, 2021, 3:33 PM (3 days ago)

The following information is for all UTMB faculty, staff and students in all locations.

CURRENT STATUS

Currently 173 patients with COVID in UTMB hospitals (as of 9 a.m., Sept. 7, 2021)

Number of new cases and hospitalizations remain high throughout the region.

Efforts to promote vaccination continue.

Stay vigilant and practice safety protocols to protect self and others.

Pay attention to updates from Incident Command, the COVID Clinical Task Force and/or your area’s leadership as this surge evolves.

George Croix

That's a bunch, Dan.

And this coming flu season is predicted to be a rough one, too, helping nothing.

One can only wonder at the survival rate of anyone who got both maladies at the same time...

Interestingly, we are PC allowed to call the various flu strains by whatever name fits, including 'Asian' flu, Hong Kong, Spanish, etc.

Maybe if we'd dump the PC and call a spade a Chinese spade if it came from China the entreaties to cooperate might...might...be a bit more effective.....

That transparency thingy...

Charles Douglas

Mr. Croix> Yes sir you are correct!!! [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

Ted Gillis

Carlos, you quoted your doctor as saying “we don’t need lockdowns”, during his interview. Who the heck is he talking to? Nobody is saying we need lockdowns. That’s just made up stuff that he thinks sounds good. The only one calling for lockdowns is apparently that “imaginary liberal” living inside his head.

Carlos Ponce

It was part of the original interview after asked "Do we need lockdowns?"

Ted Gillis

That figures. A typical journalist trying to stir something up when nothing needs stirring.

Carlos Ponce

It's not hard to figure out who made this statement many consider racist:

“It’s awful hard, as well, to get Latinx vaccinated as well. Why? They’re worried that they’ll be vaccinated and deported.”

He also saidthe following:

“There’s a reason why it’s been harder to get African-Americans, initially, to get vaccinated. Because they’re used to being experimented on – the Tuskegee Airmen and others. People have memories. People have long memories.”

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.