Texas set a new record on Wednesday for COVID-19 cases in a single day, with 75,817 new cases reported.
by Betty L. Martin
HOUSTON, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Former Houston school teacher Marianne Chase, 63, was experiencing a few sniffles and a light cough. Now that she had received both of her Pfizer jabs against COVID-19, she thought she most likely had a mild cold or flu.
At her doctor's to get an anti-flu prescription, Chase said she was "absolutely flabbergasted" when she tested positive for COVID-19.
"I just felt a little flu-ish," Chase said, "but once I knew it was COVID, I did all the right things - I quarantined at home and made myself a real nuisance to my husband until he got a test, too. Turns out, he was also positive even though he had had both vaccines, too."
Chase later learned that though the Omicron variant of COVID-19 often has milder symptoms than other variants such as Delta, Omicron is highly contagious and no respecter of previous vaccinations as tiny droplets containing the virus bypass most masks to infect especially the elderly, people with pre-existing conditions, minorities of color and low-income and hourly workers, and the unvaccinated.
The U.S. southern state of Texas set a new record on Wednesday for COVID-19 cases in a single day, with 75,817 new cases reported, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).
"COVID has never spread this fast in Texas," the agency said, noting that test positivity rate in the state is now over 35 percent.
The state reported more than 300,000 new COVID-19 cases in just the last week alone, which made up 1 percent of the entire Texas population, the DSHS tweeted on Wednesday.
A total 11,571 Texans were being hospitalized with COVID-19, with 2,204 of them in intensive care, the department said.
Texas on Sunday ranked the third in new cases of COVID-19 in the United States within 72 hours.
Some health experts warn that the peak of the current surge is likely still ahead in Texas, as the Omicron variant is moving rapidly throughout the state after a holiday season filled with gatherings and travels.
Many hospitals in Texas began sending recruited staff members home during the late spring-summer when it seemed COVID -19 might soon be defeated, but the defeat didn't happen and hospitals are again recruiting necessary extra staff as Omicron is again stretching hospital resources.
According to Microsoft News on Tuesday, the Omicron variant is causing hardship for many Texas businesses that cannot keep enough workers on the job. Restaurants across the state are closing without hope of reopening, or are in danger of closing within the month if staffing remains a problem or patrons do not begin to return.
Some Texas school districts are also shutting down campuses in order to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The largest public school district in Texas and the nation's seventh largest, Houston Independent School District (HISD), opened COVID-19 testing sites last week for students and staff at many of its campuses and sports stadiums.
"As our students returned to the classroom and staff came back to work after winter break, we have continued to lead the way with safety at the forefront of all our decisions," Superintendent Millard House said at a press conference last week.
However, House said that HISD was determined to keep its schools open, while offering virtual learning to students studying at home due to temporary quarantine with COVID-19. He also said that because of the surge of the Omicron variant, the district chose to retain mask requirements for students and staff.