News & Politics

Report: 90% of One Texas County's New COVID Cases Are in One Federal Prison

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Texas is home to about 29 million people. That’s a lot of people. It’s the nation’s second-most populous state, after California (which keeps emptying into Texas and other states). Welcome to Texas, Elon Musk! You’ll find us much friendlier to you and your businesses.

Tarrant County is a major county in Texas. At just over two million residents, it’s the big state’s third-largest county. Fort Worth is there. You may have heard of it as the junior and more laid-back partner in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

So imagine everyone’s surprise when pretty much all of its new COVID cases are in one federal prison in the county, reports Newsweek.

Health officials in Tarrant County, Texas on Sunday announced 485 new coronavirus cases, with nearly 90 percent of that figure coming from a large outbreak at a federal prison.

Of the 485 confirmed cases, 423 were associated with the Federal Medical Center Fort Worth prison, county officials said. The facility now has a total of 627 confirmed cases out of roughly 1,463 inmates, making it the prison with the third-highest number of infections at a U.S. federal facility. There are now at least five deaths caused by the novel virus at the location.

The story highlights a convict who came down with the ‘rona and died. But he had underlying conditions — and he was a convicted heroin dealer serving a long sentence. If he’d been jailed in Harris County, County Judge Lina Hidalgo would probably have tried to free him so she could make room for people who don’t want to wear a mask in public.

For the record, even if I don’t have to, I wear a mask when I’m out and about. It’s not much of an imposition on me, and my wife went to a lot of trouble to make us stylish masks.

So up in Tarrant County, 90% of new coronavirus cases are in that one prison. If you wanted to head out to the famous stockyards or the Amon Carter Museum, odds are you’d be just fine. But they’re closed, or in that half-open limbo so much of the state is currently in.

Down in Austin, they’ve reported no new deaths for the second straight day in the city or Travis County.

As of Sunday evening, there are 32 new confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Austin/Travis County, making the total 2,127. There are 60 deaths related to the virus in the area.

To put that into perspective, Austin has over 900,000 residents and Travis County, about 1.2 million. Those COVID case numbers are rounding errors on the total population. But both recently extended their lockdowns into June.

None of this makes any sense. We do need to take this virus seriously, I am not arguing that we don’t.

We don’t need to be pouring more money into food banks. People need that right now, but only because too much is still closed down. They don’t want to have to depend on food banks. They. Want. To. Work.

Not because they’re reckless renegades. They just want to be able to feed their families and keep what they’ve spent their lives working for.

We need to reopen, rightnowthisveryinstant.

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