Austin’s Top News – December 9, 2020 | KLBJ-AM

COVID-19 vaccine update

While attending the White House Summit on the COVID-19 Vaccine Tuesday, Governor Greg Abbott discussed the steps Texas has already taken to prepare for vaccine delivery.

“We have already signed more than 7,200 vendors who are currently waiting for these vaccines,” says Abbott.

Governor Abbott attended a panel with governors from Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Abbott spoke of the state’s efforts to prepare for the spring vaccine, which accelerated last month. Abbott was then asked how long it might take to vaccinate the first 100,000 Texans.

“We are ready to go. All we need is the tests and vaccines, and once we get them, they should be done within 24 to 48 hours, ”says Abbott.

The coronavirus vaccine could come this week or next, but there are many questions about who should get it. Baylor Infectious Diseases Expert Dr. Peter Hotez says people who tested positive and have recovered should still line up for the recordings.

“Because we don’t know the durability of protection against previous infections. It can depend on the severity of the disease, ”he says.

We also don’t know whether those who have had severe symptoms of COVID have more protection from the virus than those who were asymptomatic. The best plan, he says, is to get everyone vaccinated. Once the shots hit, those who have had COVID and have recovered could even get a booster effect from the vaccine.

Homeless mental health

The city of Austin is putting a new focus on the mental health of the homeless. Tomorrow, a partnership with Travis County Integral Care for the Health for the Homeless program is expected to be fully approved. Bill Brice of the Downtown Austin Alliance says they’re paying just over half the cost.

“The program costs $ 520,000. The Downtown Alliance will charge $ 260,000 of this in the first year, ”says Brice.

The program involves five new behavioral health professionals and a psychiatrist who provide mental health care to the homeless, either on-site or at the Terrace Oak Springs Clinic, and prioritize those who are considered to be the most in need of care. It could serve up to 175 people a year, and Brice says this will also help move people to permanent housing.

Funding public education

Funding public education will be difficult in the coming legislative period. Cedar Park State representative John Bucy says House Bill 3, which passed last year and pumps more than $ 11 billion into public schools, must not stall.

“We did a lot to help our schools last time, and I would hate it if we went backwards. Another budget will be a real challenge, ”says Bucy.

The Senate will also have a lot less leeway than normal due to the massive costs caused by the pandemic. Charles Schwertner, Senator for Georgetown State, says that around 80% of the budget has already been earmarked for it.

Texas is leaving the union?

There has been talk of Texas leaving the union for years. However, a mountain state representative, Kyle Beidermann, stands ready to be the first to propose laws that would allow a vote. However, political scientist Cal Jillson says there is a problem with it. She says it’s just not possible.

“The Supreme Court said the union is insoluble and permanent, so Texas cannot succeed,” says Jillson.

In a post on Facebook, representative Biedermann claims that the federal government is out of control and does not represent the values ​​of Texans. It already has support for the Texas Nationalist Movement, which claims support for secession has increased.

Fort Hood fires officers

Army leaders fire or suspend 14 officers and soldiers at Fort Hood. Two officers general are also among those removed from their jobs.

“While the independent review focused on the command, climate and culture at Fort Hood, the findings contained in the committee’s report have implications for the entire Army,” said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.

It happened after a year in which 25 soldiers assigned to Fort Hood died from suicide or accidents, including the death of specialist Vanessa Guillén.

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