Texas Standard for December 8, 2021

As Texans gather for the holidays, pandemic trends not moving in a positive direction in the Lone Star State, as concerns mount over a new COVID-19 variant. We’ll talk with a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force on increases in COVID-19 hospitalizations and the omicron variant. And: A PolitiFact check of women in the workforce and changes since the start of the pandemic. Also: The woman heading up a return of the Buffalo to tribal bands in Texas. Plus: The filmmaker famous for the first feature shot entirely on an iPhone turns his camera to the Texas Gulf Coast. Those stories and much more today on the Texas Standard:

By Texas StandardDecember 8, 2021 9:23 am,

COVID hospitalization rates in El Paso

Health officials across the state are experiencing increased COVID hospitalization rates. Two of Texas’ 22 trauma service areas are reporting rates over 18% – well above the 15% threshold the state previously used to trigger partial shutdowns and mask requirements. El Paso is one of the regions seeing increased hospitalization rates. Dr. Ogechika Alozie, an El Paso physician and a member of the Texas Medical Association’s COVID-19 Task Force, joins with an update.

Immigration policy in Mexico

The Biden administration has relaunched a Trump-era policy forcing asylum seekers at the southern border to remain in Mexico while they wait to have their cases heard. The policy has profound effects for immigration. In Mexico, it’s reinstatement has led immigration officials to overhaul its policy toward migrants at its own southern border. For more we now bring in María Verza, an Associated Press reporter based in Mexico City.

Harvey survivor experts

Low-income residents of color in Northeast Houston say they’re still dealing with the financial and mental health impacts of Hurricane Harvey more than four years later. Houston Public Media’s Katie Watkins tells us this comes as a growing body of research shows that federal disaster aid tends to favor white people.

Texas buffalo project

Buffalo were an essential resource to Texas’ Indigenous tribes before colonization – colonization that led to the slaughter of most buffalo herds in North America. Texas’ Lipan Apache tribe hasn’t possessed its own herd in more than a century, but that recently changed. The tribe is now the home to a handful of bison to raise, thanks to a native-run organization that aims to bring buffalo-raising and herding back to Indigenous tribes across the state. Lucille Contreras, chief executive director and founder of the Texas Tribal Buffalo Project, joins us today.

Abortion pill ban and enforcement

A new measure restricting the use of abortion-inducing medications is now the law in Texas. As of last week, it’s now a felony to prescribe abortion medication to any person more than  seven weeks pregnant. The mailing of those medications is also forbidden. The LBJ School of Public Affairs’ Dr. Abigail Aiken researches self-managed, medication-induced abortions. She joins us today to discuss the law.

The Sounds of Texas: Willie Nelson

A look at what brought the Red Headed Stranger back to Texas.

Sean Baker’s new film, ‘Red Rocket’

Filmmaker Sean Baker gained a lot of attention when he shot a full movie on an iPhone. But the film “Tangerine” wasn’t just a gimmick, it was a powerful portrait of a transgender sex worker. He followed that up with “The Florida Project,” which explored poverty in the shadow of Disney World. His latest film, “Red Rocket,” delves into the Texas Gulf Coast. And while the Texas Standard’s Laura Rice reports that Baker didn’t set out to teach any lessons, he might have accomplished that anyway.

PolitiFact: Allred and women in the workforce

Democratic Rep. Colin Allred said that over the course of the pandemic, more than two million women have dropped out of the workforce. Is that a fact? Nusaiba Mizan dug into this claim for Politifact Texas, based at the Austin American-Statesman. She joins us today.

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

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