A Texas judge spelled out the dire COVID-19 situation for young people in the state on Friday, saying in an interview that, “in Dallas, we have zero ICU beds left for children.”
“That means if your child’s in a car wreck, if your child has a congenital heart defect … and needs an ICU bed, or more likely if they have COVID and need an ICU bed, we don’t have one,” said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
“Your child will wait for another child to die,” he said bluntly.
Jenkins’ comments came amid his legal battle over masks with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) who last month signed an executive order declaring that local governments could not implement mask mandates.
Jenkins successfully challenged the order and issued his own requiring masks at schools and certain businesses in the county. Abbott appealed that ruling to the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas. The court upheld Jenkins’ order on Friday. Abbott has now filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court.
“Your child will just not get on the ventilator, your child will be [airlifted to] wherever we can find them a bed,” Jenkins added. “But they won’t be getting one here unless one clears.”
The situation for adults does not appear to be much better.
Jenkins tweeted Friday that only 17 adult ICU beds were currently available in the county.
Statewide, there are only 323 ICU beds available, as the number of people requiring hospital treatment surges, fueled by the spread of the more contagious delta variant and the plateauing of the vaccination rate. The vast majority of people now being hospitalized with COVID-19 have not received the vaccine.
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