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Health & Wellness

COVID-19 Live Updates: Poll Shows Many Americans Resuming Pre-Virus Activities

A group of people walk in an amusement park.
Ringo H.W. Chiu
/
Associated Press
In this June 15, 2021 photo, people arrive at Universal Studios in Universal City, Calif. Many Americans are relaxing precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic and resuming everyday activities, even as some worry that coronavirus-related restrictions were hastily lifted, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Get live updates throughout the day on how COVID-19 is affecting North Texas.

» COVID-19 By The Numbers:

  • In Texas: More than 2.9 million cases and more than 52,000 deaths have been reported.
  • Cases In North Texas: Tarrant County: 262,253; Dallas County: 261,990; Denton County: 76,680; Collin County: 75,648. There have been at least 9,093 reported deaths in the region's four largest counties. (Data as of June 17)
  • Counties across Texas: Use the Texas Newsroom's interactive maps.
  • Global: See Johns Hopkins University's COVID-19 dashboard.

Friday, June 18

AP-NORC Poll: Many Americans Resuming Pre-Virus Activities

Many Americans are relaxing precautions taken during the COVID-19 pandemic and resuming everyday activities, even as some worry that coronavirus-related restrictions were hastily lifted, a new poll shows.

The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that majorities of Americans who were regularly doing so before the pandemic say they are returning to bars or restaurants, traveling and attending events such as movies or sports.

Just 21% are very or extremely worried about a COVID-19 infection in their inner circle — the lowest level since the pandemic began — and only 25% are highly concerned that the lifted restrictions will lead to additional people being infected in their community.

Andrea Moran, a 36-year-old freelance writer and mother of two boys, said she feels both relief and joy at the chance to resume “doing the little things,” such as having drinks on a restaurant patio with her husband.

“Honestly, I almost cried,” Moran said. “It’s such a feeling of having been through the wringer, and we’re finally starting to come out of it.”

Still, 34% of Americans think restrictions in their area have been lifted too quickly, while somewhat fewer — 27% — say they were not lifted quickly enough. About 4 in 10 rate the pace of reopening about right.

Read the full story.

Thursday, June 17

Dallas County Reports 103 Cases, Three Deaths

The three deaths give Dallas County a total of 4,106. The deaths reported Thursday included people who ranged in age from their 60s to their 90s, and all had underlying high risk health conditions.

About 56% of Dallas County residents 12 and over have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of the week ending June 12.

Denton County Reports 44 Cases

Of the 44 cases reported Thursday, 43 are active cases. Denton County also reported 62 recoveries, bringing that total to 74,095. There have been 604 deaths in the county.

El Paso, Once Hard-Hit By COVID-19, Now Has A High Vaccination Rate

One of the Texas cities hardest hit by the pandemic is now among those leading the nation in COVID-19 vaccinations.

El Paso Congresswoman Veronica Escobar lauded her hometown's immunization efforts on the House floor Wednesday.

"When President Biden announced his goal to vaccinate 70 percent of our nation, El Paso not only met the goal a month early but we've surpassed it and currently lead the country by 10 percent," she said.

Texas, as a whole, is lagging behind Biden's goal to have 70% of U.S. adults get their first shot by July 4th. About 55% of Texans 12 and older have gotten at least one shot.

Delta Variant Is A Cause For Concern

Public health experts in North Texas are concerned about the spread of the "Delta" coronavirus variant first detected in India.

Dr. Carolee Estelle is the Interim Chief of Infection Prevention at Parkland Hospital. She spoke about the Delta variant Wednesday at a virtual town hall.

"It spreads about 40 to 60-percent more efficiently or easily than the alpha variant (from the United Kingdom), which already was able to spread about 50% more easily than the original strain of the virus," Estelle said. "And experts anticipate that this delta variant will become dominant in the U.S. pretty quickly."

Estelle said the Delta variant seems to cause more severe illness and hospitalizations than other strains. She said fully vaccinated people should be well-protected, but the variant poses a greater threat to those who've not been inoculated.

Wednesday, June 16

Dallas County Reports 112 New Cases

An additional 112 cases raises the total to 261,898. Of the cases reported today, 58 are confirmed. Four deaths were reported today including:

  • A Grand Prairie woman in her 50s.
  • Two Dallas women in their 60s.
  • An Irving man in his 60s.

142 New Cases In Tarrant County

There are 142 more cases in the area, bringing the total to 262,098. So far, a total of 3,543 deaths and 256,768 people have recovered from the virus.

Currently, 2% of hospital beds in the county are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

Denton County Announces 23 Additional Cases

Another 23 cases increases the total to 76,636. Of the cases reported today, 21 are active. There are 96 newly-recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 74,035.

Tuesday, June 15

Parkland Hospital To Host Vaccine Clinics In Dallas County

This week, Parkland Hospital will host several COVID-19 vaccination clinics across Dallas County. People over the age of 12 can receive their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine without an appointment and will be scheduled to return for their second dose in 21 days.

A valid ID will be required and all minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Vaccine clinics will be available at the following locations:

Tuesday, June 15 — 3 p.m.-6 p.m.

Location: Hutchins Gateway Apartments, 700 J. J. Lemmon Road, Hutchins, 75141
Supplies: 80 Pfizer doses available

The second dose will be administered on Tuesday, July 6

Wednesday, June 16 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Location: MacArthur High School, 3700 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, 75062
Supplies: 500 Pfizer doses available

The second dose will be administered on Wednesday, July 7

Friday, June 18 — 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: Awesome Touch Hair Salon (located in Square 67), 2550 W. Red Bird Lane, Dallas, 75237
Supplies: 80 Pfizer doses available

The second dose will be administered on Friday, July 9

Saturday, June 19 — 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Location: Uplift Hampton Preparatory, 8915 S. Hampton Road, Dallas, 75232
Supplies: 500 Pfizer doses available

The second dose will be administered on Saturday, July 10

Individuals 12 years and older can also get a vaccine at the following locations:

  • Ellis Davis Field House, 9191 S. Polk St., Dallas, 75232 from 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday – Saturday.
  • Parkland Memorial Hospital, 5200 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, 75235 between 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday or between 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Dallas County Reports 4 Deaths, 189 New Cases

Another 189 cases raise the total to 261,840. Of the cases reported, 131 are confirmed. Three deaths reported today include:

  • A Desoto man in his 40s.
  • A Garland man in his 50s.
  • A Grand Prairie woman in her 70s.

Dallas County Clay Jenkins said today marks the milestone of 600,000 deaths due to the virus in the U.S. He urged residents to get the vaccine:

“The numbers are improving because people are getting vaccinated. But for the unvaccinated, COVID-19 is still one of the biggest, if not the biggest, risk to your life this year. It is a risk that can be almost completely eliminated by accepting the free vaccine that is readily available throughout Dallas County.”

60 New Cases In Denton County

There are 60 additional cases in the area, bringing the total to 76,613. The county also reported 92 newly-recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,939.

Tarrant County Announces 44 New Cases

An additional 44 cases in the county increases the total to 261,956. There are 3,543 deaths and 256,601 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee Supports Bill Banning Evictions During National Emergencies

Texas congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee is among the Democrats backing a bill to ban evictions during national emergencies.

A House Judiciary subcommittee considered the legislation during a hearing Monday, just weeks before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s pandemic-related eviction moratorium is set to expire. The bill specifically targets "self-help" evictions. The Houston Democrat explained what they are:

"Despite local, state, and federal prohibitions the self help evictions are changing locks, cutting off utilities, refusing to make essential repairs, removing their belongings, harassing tenants in order to create an environment where tenants will leave on their own."

The Emergency Eviction Enforcement Act of 2021 would, among other things, prevent landlords from evicting tenants without a court order and creating a hostile environment at the property.

Monday, June 14

Over 40% Of Texans Are Fully Vaccinated

Nearly 11 million people in Texas are fully vaccinated, which represents 40% of the state’s total population.

The vaccination rate has been on a decline since April.

Last week, 370,000 doses were administered in Texas last week. More than 23 million doses have been administered in total.

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths are at the lowest levels since the first wave last summer.

Dallas County Reports 107 New Cases

An additional 107 cases raises the total to 261,709. Of the cases reported today, 102 are confirmed. Four deaths were reported today including:

  • A Dallas man in his 50s.
  • A Garland woman in her 60s.
  • A Dallas man in his 80s.
  • A Rowlett man in his 80s.

During April and May, 20% of the county’s COVID-19 cases were in children younger than 18 years old.

74 Additional Cases In Denton County

Another 74 cases brings the total to 76,553. There are 125 newly recovered cases, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,847.

Tarrant County Announces 58 New Cases

There are 58 more cases in the area, increasing the total to 261,912. There have been 3,543 deaths and 256,509 people have recovered from the virus in the area.

New State Agency Will Help Texans With Pandemic Recovery

A new state agency called Texas Epidemic Public Health Institute is meant to help Texas recover from the current COVID-19 pandemic while preparing for the next one.

Eric Boerwinkle is dean of UT Health Science Center at Houston's School of Public Health, which will lead in launching the agency. He told public radio's Texas Standard that they'll use both federal and state funding.

“It takes more money obviously to stand up a new state agency, and we'll be able to use the current federal funds that are being provided to Texas for pandemic preparedness, along with other things related to COVID-19 response,” he said. “But in the future it'll be a combination really of federal funds and state funds.”

Boerwinkle said the agency will also partner with the Texas Department of State Health Services and won't duplicate efforts of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sunday, June 13

Tarrant County Reports 108 New Cases

Tarrant County is reporting 108 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of cases to 261,854. Of the new cases, 84 were confirmed and 24 were probable.

Two deaths were reported.

Saturday, June 12

Dallas County Reports 105 New Cases, 4 Deaths

Dallas County is reporting 105 new cases and 4 deaths on Saturday. Of the new cases, 95 were confirmed and 10 were probable. The county's total number of cases is now 304,607. The deaths total 4,092.

Tarrant County Reports 3 Deaths, 51 New Cases

Tarrant County is reporting 51 cases on Saturday -- of the new cases, 38 were confirmed and 13 were probable. This makes the county's total number of cases 261,770. The death toll stands at 3,541.

712 New Cases Reported In Collin County

The state added 712 cases to Collin County's total on Saturday. Of the new cases, 437 were confirmed and 274 were probable. The county's total now stands at 92,233.

Friday, June 11

The Release Of People From Texas County Jails Is Still Being Restricted

Gov. Greg Abbott has been saying for months that Texas is no longer restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. Face mask mandates are gone, and people are crowding back into businesses and public places.

But there is one crucial government function the Republican governor has kept limited since he declared a public health disaster last March: the release of people from Texas county jails.

Abbott’s controversial order aims to stop the release of any criminal defendant accused or previously convicted of a violent crime on a no-cost bond, meaning such defendants would only get out of jail in the pandemic if they could afford money bail. It also disallowed those serving short, misdemeanor sentences from being released early for good behavior, a common practice in county jails. The order’s legality has long been questioned, and at least several local courts have found it unconstitutional — leading to a patchwork implementation.

Still, at least in parts of the state, the order continues to keep people in jail who may have otherwise been released before the coronavirus ravaged Texas. It is the governor’s only emergency order aside from requiring collection of medical data on the coronavirus that he has kept in place for more than a year.

Abbott issued his emergency order last March as Texas counties sought to combat the pandemic by lowering their jail populations — where the risk of the coronavirus was particularly high given poor sanitary conditions and close quarters. At the time, Abbott said the order was to prevent mass releases from jails.

A spokesperson did not answer repeated questions in the last month asking why the governor has continued the order.

Read more from the Texas Tribune.

Dallas County Reports 104 New Cases

Another 104 cases brings the total to 261,512. Of the cases reported, 91 are confirmed. Three deaths were reported including:

  • A Dallas man in his 80s.
  • A Dallas woman in her 80s.
  • A Rowlett man in his 80s.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins urged residents to get vaccinated as summer arrives.

“With the summer months heating up and more and more people being inside, if you or your loved one hasn’t had a vaccine yet, now is the time to get vaccinated as more and more people will be around one another in indoor settings,” he said.

84 New Cases In Tarrant County

An additional 84 cases increases the total to 261,719. There have been 3,538 deaths and 256,226 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

Denton County Announces 28 Additional Cases

There are 28 new cases in the county, raising the total to 76,479. There are also 67 newly-recovered cases in the area, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,723.

Nonprofits Want To Help Dallas Residents With Housing Costs

The most recent Census Bureau survey of American financial wellbeing shows that Texans are still having a harder time paying for housing costs than before the pandemic.

Nearly 1 in 10 homeowners with a mortgage said they were behind on payments and nearly 2 in 10 renters had already missed rent.

"People have told me I lost my car, I already exhausted all my savings, I don't have anybody that will lend me money, so I'm here. So it's tough," said Samanda Gronstal, who runs the housing assistance program for the Community Council of Greater Dallas.

The nonprofit has millions of federal dollars to help Dallas residents with up to six months of housing costs. CEO Sharla Myers says evictions can be devastating.

"Once a tenant is evicted, it's going to be extremely difficult for that tenant to get another apartment, because they're going to have that eviction on their record," Myers said. "They are much more likely to end up staying homeless for a longer period of time."

Unlike a lot of programs, people who are undocumented can also get help the Community Council.

Thursday, June 10

Texans On Unemployment Can No Longer Cite COVID-19 As A Reason To Refuse A Job Offer Or As A Reason Not To Search For A Job

Texans receiving unemployment benefits will no longer be able to cite COVID-19 as a reason not to search for work or refuse a job offer. The Texas Workforce Commission said this week the rule suspension is no longer needed due to declining cases and increasing vaccinations. Spokesman Cisco Gamez says Texas is also soon opting out of a federal pandemic unemployment benefits program.

“If you’re on regular unemployment, the additional $300 benefits will end June 26, 2021," Cisco said. "But, TWC will continue to pay you regular benefits after that date, as long as you remain eligible and have not exhausted your state benefits.”

​​The U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday that just under 18,000 Texans filed initial jobless claims last week — the lowest level since mid-March 2020.

Dallas County Reports 127 New Cases

There are 127 additional cases, increasing the total to 261,421. Of the cases reported today, 87 are confirmed.

Four deaths were reported today including:

  • A Dallas man in his 30s.
  • A Garland woman in her 50s.
  • A Garland woman in her 50s.
  • A Garland woman in her 80s.

So far, over 487,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given out at the Fair Park mega-vaccine site.

128 Additional Cases In Tarrant County

Another 128 cases bring the total to 261,635. There are 3,533 people who have died from the virus and 256,118 residents who have recovered in the area.

The community spread level is “moderate.”

Denton County Announces 18 New Cases

There are 18 new cases in the county, 17 of which are active cases. This raises the total to 76,452. There have also been 102 newly recovered cases of COVID-19, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,657.

Wednesday, June 9

Dallas County Reports 112 Cases, Four Deaths

The four deaths give Dallas County a total of 4,081. The deaths reported Wednesday include people who ranged in age from their 60s to their 70s, and all had underlying high-risk health conditions.

As of May 29, about 52% of Dallas County residents 12 years and older received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. During the week ending on May 29, about 93% of the newly diagnosed COVID-19 cases were in residents who were not fully vaccinated.

Tarrant County Reports 66 Cases, One Death

The death was of a woman from Fort Worth in her 30s who had underlying health conditions. Tarrant County now has 3,531 confirmed deaths from the COVID-19 virus and 256,009 people have recovered.

Denton County Reports 44 Cases

Of the 44 cases reported Wednesday, 40 were active cases. There have been a total of 604 deaths in Denton County.

Dallas Regional Chamber Launches Vaccine Awareness Campaign

The Dallas Regional Chamber is launching a COVID-19 vaccine awareness campaign to push the region toward herd immunity.

The Dallas Morning News reports the "Take Care of Business" campaign will utilize targeted advertising and a sweepstakes to try to get 600,000 more North Texans, age 16 and up, vaccinated so businesses can resume pre-pandemic levels of activity. Some of the giveaways include Dallas Cowboys tickets, and roundtrip flights on Southwest and American Airlines.

The campaign is focusing outreach on communities of color, who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

About 58% of people age 16 and older in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties had received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Tuesday.

Dallas County health director Philip Huang said the percentage needed for herd immunity may be as high as 80%.

Sensory-Friendly Vaccine Clinic Being Offered For Individuals With Autism

The Autism Treatment Center, Tom Thumb, and The Perot Foundation have partnered to provide a COVID-19 vaccine drive-through clinic and a sensory-friendly indoor clinic for people with autism or related conditions and their caregivers.

The clinic will take place on Saturday, June 12 by appointment only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Autism Treatment Center on 10503 Metric Drive, Dallas, 75243.

For individuals with autism or other developmental disability, a disability-friendly vaccination site is one where sensory stimulation is kept to a minimum and staff and volunteers are trained to work with challenging behaviors caused by anxiety and stress.

You must register by Friday, June 11 for the clinic. To register, go to the Autism Treatment Center's website or email info@atcoftexas.org, or contact Carrie Nelson at cnelson@atcoftexas.org.

Parkland Health's Ellis Davis Field House Site Temporarily Closes For Graduations

The COVID-19 testing and vaccination site at Ellis Davis Field House at 9191 S. Polk Street in Dallas will be closed on Saturday, June 12 and Saturday, June 19 because of graduation ceremonies.

The site will reopen for its regular hours, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., on the Mondays following the closures (June 14 and June 21).

Tuesday, June 8

Vaccine Clinic Tomorrow In Sansom Park

The Sansom Park Fire Department and MedStar are holding a community vaccine clinic on Wednesday, June 9, from 4–8 p.m. Sansom Park is just north west of Fort Worth.

Up to 250 1st and 2nd dose vaccines will be available, and anyone 12 years and older is eligible to be vaccinated.

Pre-Registration recommended but not required. You can sign up at https://usa.quickscreen.health/medstar-vaccination#/screening.

Organizers say be sure to enter your demographic information, answer screening questions, select “06/09 Sansom Park FD” as the site and select time, then take a screen shot or picture of the QR code that displays after selecting the site and time.

Dallas County Reports 103 New Cases

An additional 103 cases were reported today, raising the total to 261,256. Of the cases reported today, 73 are confirmed.

Four deaths were reported today:

  • A Garland man in his 30s.
  • A Garland man in his 50s.
  • A Richardson woman in her 60s.
  • A Cedar Hill man in his 60s.

76 New Cases In Tarrant County

There are 76 new cases in the area, bringing the total to 261,441. There have been 3,530 deaths and 255,843 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

3 Deaths Announced In Denton County

Three deaths due to the virus were reported today:

  • A Colony man in his 40s.
  • A Denton woman over 80.
  • A Denton man in his 70s.

There are 47 new cases in the county, 45 of which are active cases. That brings the total number of cases to 76,390.

Texas Businesses Banned From Requiring Customers To Share Vaccine Status

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill into law banning Texas businesses from requiring proof of someone’s COVID-19 vaccination status.

He spoke about it in a Twitter video Monday.

“No business or government entity can require a person to provide a vaccine or passport or any other vaccine information as a condition of receiving any service or entering any place," Abbott said.

He issued a similar ban, through an executive order, for government entities in April.

The new law signed yesterday came the same day Carnival Cruise Line said it will require passengers prove they're fully vaccinated. Its first cruise departs from Galveston July 3.

Read more about the law from The Texas Tribune.

Monday, June 7

Texas Researchers Call For Booster Shot Trial Volunteers

Texas researchers are recruiting volunteers for the clinical trial of a COVID-19 booster shot. Individuals who have received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines are all eligible.

Haná El Sahly, a professor of molecular virology and microbiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, says it's not yet clear if a booster shot is necessary.

"Having said that, it's good to be ready,” she said. “Just in case booster shots are needed and just in case second generation vaccines are needed, we and others in the country are beginning to do the research."

Enrollment in the trial is ongoing.

Dallas County Reports 202 New Cases

Another 202 cases in the area brings the total to 261,183. Two deaths have been reported today, including an Irving woman in her 60s and a Sunnyvale man in his 80s.

There have been 4,073 people who have died in the area due to the virus.

103 New Cases In Tarrant County

There are 103 more cases in the area, raising the total to 261,365. In total, there have been 3,528 deaths and 255,740 people who have recovered from the virus in the area.

Currently, 2% of the county’s hospital beds are being occupied by COVID-19 patients.

5 Deaths, 65 New Cases In Denton County

Five people have died from the virus in the area, including:

  • A Little Elm man in his 60s
  • A Frisco woman in her 60s
  • A Denton man in his 70s
  • A Carrollton man over 80
  • A Denton man over 80

An additional 65 cases were reported in the county, bringing the total to 76,344. There have been 153 people who have recovered from the virus in the area, increasing the countywide recovery total to 73,398.

Metal Ions Help COVID-19 Virus Disguise Itself, Researcher Says

Scientists in San Antonio have uncovered how the COVID virus hides from the immune system: it uses metal ions like magnesium and calcium that circulate in everyone's body.

Dr. Yogesh Gupta, an assistant professor of biochemistry and structural biology at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio, said the COVID virus looks for these metal ions.

“So, when it sees that, it immediately utilizes that environment to its own benefit,” Gupta said. “So it can efficiently modify its own RNA and the immune system cannot distinguish once the RNA is modified.”

He said this allows the virus to replicate without immune system interference, leading to more severe disease. He said the discovery may lead to the development of new antiviral medications to treat all coronaviruses.

Read More: A Timeline Of COVID-19's Spread In North Texas

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