Exploding Case Count Threatens Colleges Opening, Football, & Public Health in Texas, Says Professor

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

 

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L-R Prof. Stekler, Dr. Fine and GoLocal's Fenton

University of Texas professor Paul Stekler joined Dr. Michael Fine on GoLocal LIVE to discuss the explosion of coronavirus cases in Texas and the impact that the virus is having on public health and the Texas way of life.

Stekler is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker and founder of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

“Texas is really a mess right now you know. Basically I'm not sure that we ever had a population that was doing very much in terms of wearing masks or social distancing….to a certain extent but the state was only in sort of quasi-locked down for a month and the governor was late in doing that,” said Steeler.

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“He took away the ability of localities to be able to make people wear masks and sort of gave them less leeway in terms of their actual laws,” added Stekler.

According to KUT data:

- Confirmed cases in Austin/Travis County: 8,969 (1,872 new cases since Thursday)
- Deaths in Travis County: 121 (+5 since Thursday) 
- Currently hospitalized in Austin area: 368 (+75 net new hospitalizations since Thursday)

Stekler lives in Austin, Texas, but said outside of the state’s capital, which is home to the University of Texas, there has been little compliance with the limited state guidance.

“Nobody was doing anything -- it's as if the virus didn't exist. So this [explosion of cases] it is not a surprise to have this kind of a spike and virus infections and even though the numbers of deaths may not be skyrocketing like they were in New York City, in Houston, I believe today is saying their ICU units are 97% full. Most of the big city mayors are really scared about what is actually portent for the future,” said Stekler. 

His film work includes "George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire," "Last Man Standing: Politics, Texas Style," two segments of the "Eyes on the Prize II" series on the history of civil rights, and "Last Stand at Little Big Horn" on PBS's series "The American Experience.”

Stekler said it is too early to do a documentary on 2020. He said historic perspective is critical to understanding the virus, the politics, and discussion of race that are all intertwined.

Stekler’s films have won two Peabody Awards, three duPont-Columbia University Journalism Awards, three Emmy Awards and a special jury prize at the Sundance Film Festival. 

University of Texas professor Paul Stekler joined Dr. Michael Fine on GoLocal LIVE to discuss the explosion of coronavirus cases in Texas and the impact that the virus is having on public health and the Texas way of life.

Stekler is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker and founder of the Center for Politics and Governance at the LBJ School of Public Affairs.

“Texas is really a mess right now, you know. Basically I'm not sure that we ever had a population that was doing very much in terms of wearing masks or social distancing….to a certain extent but the state was only in sort of quasi-locked down for a month and the governor was late to do that,” said Steeler.

 
 

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