Texas Standard For August 11, 2021

ICU bed capacity is slim to none in most parts of the state. What that means on a practical level and why adding more beds isn’t really the solution. And: As COVID-19 cases continue to surge across Texas, the messages about the protection of getting vaccinated and wearing masks continue. But do we need to change what we’re saying or how we’re saying it? Also: How safe is it to go to a concert right now? Musicians and venues weigh the risks. Plus: We’ll take a closer look the infrastructure bill in Washington and how much money could come to Texas. And we’ll examine national identity and sports as we talk with a Texan who competed at the Olympics under the Puerto Rican flag. Those stories and more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardAugust 11, 2021 9:38 am

Here are the stories on Texas Standard for Wednesday, August 11, 2021.

Austin/Travis County ICU Capacity

There are two staffed intensive care unit beds left in the 11 county trauma service region that serves the Austin area – two beds for a service area of 2.3 million. About 14% of those ICU beds are taken up by patients with COVID-19. Dr. Desmar Walkes is the medical director for Austin Public Health and Health Authority for Austin and Travis County. She joins us today.

 Infrastructure Bill

A trillion-dollar infrastructure package approved by the U.S. Senate could give Texas up to $30 billion of federal funds. That money would go towards projects that could strengthen the state’s electric grid, address climate change and make cities and towns more resilient to natural disasters caused by global warming. Nineteen Republican senators voted for the measure – but their ranks did not include Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. Abby Livingston, Texas Tribune Washington bureau chief, joins the Standard with more.

Venues and Vaccines

“Pause/Play” is a podcast from KUT & KUTX Studios looking at the impact of COVID-19 on Austin – the self-proclaimed live music capital of the world. Its latest episode is about how artists and venue owners are dealing with a tentative return to live music that’s been thrown into disarray by the rise of the delta variant. “Pause/Play” hosts Miles Bloxson and Elizabeth McQueen joins us with a recap.

 Communication about Mask Mandates

In a state where elected leaders put a premium on personal freedom and responsibility, doing something for the public good –  like wearing a mask or getting vaccinated against the coronavirus – may be a tougher sell. Michael Mackert is director of the University of Texas Center for Health Communication. He joins us to talk about some of the challenges in communicating the need for COVID precautions.

Profiling a Puerto Rican Olympian, and Sports, Identity and Nationality

Tae-Kwon-do practitioner Victoria Stambaugh was born in Pasadena, Texas and lives in The Woodlands. A Texan through and through, she just finished competing for Puerto Rico in the Tokyo Olympics. She’s hardly alone in her experience of having more than one national identity. Helping us discuss these concepts through the lens of the just-completed Tokyo Games, we welcome Stambaugh to the Standard along with professor Gijsbert Oonk from Erasmus University in Rotterdam.

PolitiFact: Chip Roy Mail-In Ballots

Republican U.S. Rep. Chip Roy claims a quorum-breaking Texas Democrat said in 2007 that mail-in ballot fraud is “the greatest source of voter fraud in this state.” Is that a fact? Brandon Mulder dug into this claim for PolitiFact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman.

All this and Texas News Roundup, plus Social Media Editor Wells Dunbar with the talk of Texas.

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