Coronavirus hospitalizations and infections are on the rise in Texas as the Lone Star State has vaccinated less than half of its total population, according to data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services.
As of Thursday, there were 2,653 COVID-19 patients in Texas hospitals, an increase of 134 new patients from the previous day, according to state health data.
Thursday’s hospitalizations come after the state health department recorded 1,888 hospitalizations the previous Thursday.
Additionally, more than 3,000 new infections were recorded on Friday alone, with the seven-day average rising by about 963 from just a week ago.
The spikes in cases and hospitalizations come as health officials warn of new coronavirus outbreaks across the country due in part to the highly communicable delta variant.
New clusters of COVID-19 have been especially prevalent in communities with relatively low vaccination rates.
As of Friday, about 50 percent of the total Texas population had received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and nearly 43 percent were fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
However, the vaccination rate in Texas is higher than in some border states, including Louisiana and Arkansas, which have between 35 and 36 percent of their population fully vaccinated.
Both neighboring states have also seen recent increases in coronavirus infections, with Arkansas reporting its biggest daily jump on Tuesday. in new cases in five months with 1,476 new cases.
CDC Director Rochelle WalenskyRochelle WalenskyNight Defense: Milley Reportedly Warned Trump Against Iran Strikes | Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographer Killed in Afghanistan | 70 Percent of Active Duty Military At Least Partially Vaccinated Overnight Medical Care: CDC Director Warns of ‘Unvaccinated Pandemic’ | Biden Says Social Media Platforms “Kill People” | Florida accounts for 20 percent of new Biden cases: social media platforms ‘kill people’ MORE On Friday he said that COVID-19 is “becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” adding that vaccinated people are protected from the virus.
“The good news is that if you are fully vaccinated, you are protected against severe COVID, hospitalization and death, and you are even protected against known variants, including the delta variant, circulating in this country,” Walensky said.
She added: “If you are not vaccinated, you are still at risk.”
While Walensky said local officials should consider implementing mask mandates in areas with low vaccination rates, Republican leaders like the governor of Texas. Greg Abbott has opposed the continued restrictions on the coronavirus.
Abbott is one of several Republican governors who have imposed a ban on businesses and state agencies requiring individuals to provide proof of vaccination and in May issued an executive order prohibit government entities in the state from imposing mask mandates.