As the month of July comes to an end and the Olympic games begin to heat up, I hope you are rooting for the red, white, and blue every step of the way. An athlete to keep an eye on is fellow East Texan, Mackenzie Brown, of Flint. As the lone East Texas Olympian, Mackenzie has advanced to the round of sixteen after wins in her first two individual archery matches against competitors from Germany and China. The two-time Olympian grew up bowhunting with her family, and she found a love for competition as a teenager. Here’s hoping Mackenzie will bring a medal back for the United States, and specifically those of us in East Texas.
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
Another week of the first special session has passed, and while the Texas House still does not have the requisite number of members for a quorum to conduct business, my colleagues and I were again engaged in briefings on matters important to the citizens of our great state. This week, we heard from the Commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, Dr. John Hellerstedt, on the latest trends for COVID-19 and the impact of vaccines.
In our COVID-19 briefing, Dr. Hellerstedt notified lawmakers of the growing number of hospitalizations and deaths in recent months. Particularly telling, was the disproportionate effect that the COVID-19 Delta variant is having on those Texans who have chosen not to be vaccinated. As an example, COVID-19-related hospitalizations in Texas have grown by about 150% since the beginning of July and greater than 97% of those individuals were unvaccinated. Similarly, we learned that 8,787 people have died in Texas due to COVID-19 since the start of February and over 99% of them were unvaccinated.
Especially worrisome is that the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to prove it is much more contagious than the original strand we saw for most of 2020. Vaccines have proven themselves incredibly effective against this new strand and—contrary to myths which have been purported through social media platforms—the COVID-19 vaccine is extremely safe. Over 12 million Texans, including myself, feel more secure each day due to the peace of mind that comes with being fully vaccinated. While vaccinations will remain voluntary in the State of Texas, I would encourage every Texan to learn the facts and strongly consider receiving the vaccine.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.