The Houston Chronicle’s Live Updates blog documents the latest events in the coronavirus outbreak in the Houston area, the state of Texas and across the U.S. with a focus on health and economic impacts.
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Resources on COVID-19 and Texas’ reopening: Use our interactive page to track the spread of cases through Harris County and the rest of Texas. For a detailed look at our state, check out the Chronicle’s Texas Coronavirus Map. To get regular updates on our coverage, sign up for our coronavirus newsletter.
Total coronavirus cases:
• 1,227,435 cases in Texas, including 21,782 deaths.
• 265,249 in the Houston region, including 4,042 deaths.
• More than 13.5 million in the U.S., including 267,987 deaths. Click here to see a U.S. map with state-by-state death tolls and the latest coronavirus case counts.
• More than 63.1 million in the world, with more than 1.4 million deaths. More than 40.4 million people have recovered. You can view the worldwide totals here.
Latest updates from today:
11:22 a.m. The Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is in “dire need” of pet food donations for a Dec. 5 touch-less, drop-off food drive that will benefit Northwest Assistance Ministries, according to the organization.
The Houston SPCA has helped provide nearly 170,000 pet meals for those in need during the pandemic so far.
— Rebecca Hennes
10:28 a.m. Nearly all students in Liberty ISD were required to report back to their classrooms Monday morning after the district canceled its online learning option, joining other Houston-area school districts that have canceled virtual learning amid unprecedented rates of failing.
In a letter, Superintendent Cody Abshier said families that did not want to send their students back to campuses for face-to-face instruction would need to either homeschool them, transfer to a district that still provides virtual learning or enroll them in a private school.
“Our decision to suspend remote learning is based on many factors, with the single biggest issue being the tremendous learning gap that we are seeing between face-to-face students and remote students,” Abshier wrote.
— Shelby Webb
10 a.m. Houston and other major Texas metros registered strong home price gains in October as buyers sought houses that often serve double-duty as a workplace, according to a CoreLogic report. However, the gains in most Texas cities fell short of the U.S. increase.
— Katherine Feser
9:38 a.m. The U.S. imported more crude and petroleum products than it exported in May and June as the pandemic crushed global demand for oil.
After becoming a net exporter for seven straight months between October 2019 and April 2020, the U.S. briefly returned to net importer status. U.S. net petroleum imports averaged 939,000 barrels per day in May and 675,000 barrels per day in June, according to the Energy Department.
— Paul Takahashi
9 a.m. European regulators may approve a coronavirus vaccine developed by drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech within four weeks, the EU’s drug agency said Tuesday, according to the Associated Press. The time frame could mean the shot is rolled out first in the United States and Britain.
The European Medicines Agency plans to convene a meeting by Dec. 29 to decide if there is enough safety and efficacy data about the vaccine for it to be approved, the regulator said.
Read the full Associated Press story here.
8:15 a.m. The number of Texans enrolling in health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act exchange so far is up 17% from last year. Roughly 383,000 people in the state have enrolled since the beginning of November.
The reasons for this jump are likely pandemic-related, experts say.
— Gwendolyn Wu
7:45 a.m. In a report issued before Thanksgiving, the White House Coronavirus Task Force called on Texas to step up its pandemic response by reducing maximum occupancy indoors and conducting mass weekly testing.
“Texas continues to be in a full resurgence and mitigation efforts must intensify,” the Nov. 22 report says. “The silent community spread that precedes and continues to drive these surges can only be identified and interrupted through proactive, focused testing.”
Gov. Greg Abbott has focused his message on treatment. His office did not respond to a request for comment late Monday on the White House recommendations.
–Benjamin Wermund and Jeremy Blackman
7:30 a.m. Texas added another 29,225 COVID-19 cases Monday, bringing the statewide total from 1,198,017 to 1,227,435.
This makes 101,427 newly reported cases since last Monday. Another 189 deaths brings the statewide fatality count to 21,782.
The statewide 7-day average for new cases is 16,296 today, up from Friday’s 15,125.
The Houston region’s count is 265,249, up 6,207 from Friday. Harris County reported 3,646 new cases since Friday, 72 of which were more than 14 days old, and is now at 191,513 cases total. There were 17 newly reported deaths in the Houston region since Friday, making the death toll 4,042.
The positive test rate statewide is now at 11.33 percent, up from Friday’s 10.3 percent.
Statewide, there were 8,900 patients hospitalized for lab-confirmed COVID-19, up from Friday’s 8,518.
– Stephanie Lamm