You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Coronavirus: Texas 3rd Least Prepared State To Handle Outbreak

Patch logo Patch 4/30/2020 Tony Cantu
a statue in front of a building © Provided by Patch

AUSTIN, TX — A day ahead of the partial reopening of the state economy, a new report suggests Texas is ill-prepared to deal with the new coronavirus outbreak — the third least-prepared in the entire U.S., according to the findings.

In reaching their findings, analysts at QuickQuote took three myriad criteria into account — including the number of hospital beds per 1,000 residents, the number of active physicians per 1,000 residents and the percentage of uninsured residents.

The upshot: The Lone Star State ranked as the third least-prepared state to handle the coronavirus outbreak, faring better than just Idaho and Nevada in the reckoning.

Don't miss the latest coronavirus updates from health and government officials in the Austin area. Sign up for Patch news alerts and newsletters for what you need to know daily

A big reason for the lack of preparedness are the state's sheer numbers of uninsured residents. With 19.4 percent of residents lacking insurance, Texas has more uninsured residents than any other state in the U.S. "Those without health insurance are far less likely to seek medical treatment, even if they are showing symptoms of a virus as dangerous and contagious as COVID-19," researchers wrote.

The doctor-to-residents ratio also bodes ill for the state, with 224 doctors per 1,000 residents as the study showed. In buttressing the point, analysts provided the defintion of health care access from the National Academies Press: "The timely use of personal health services to achieve the best possible health outcomes.”

Related stories:

Given that proviso, analysts concluded: "With so many residents living far away from well-stocked and prepared medical centers, Texas certainly has a health care access problem." Stated another way: "For better and for worse, Texas is a gigantic state," analysts noted. "The Lone Star State covers 268,597 square miles, which means many Texans live far away from the state’s large cities, such as Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio."

And yet, it's not all doom and gloom. The one bright spot to consider for Texas, according to analysts: "The state has 12 medical schools. This means that the state is continuing to train more doctors than almost any other place in the United States.

View the full study here: States Best & Least Prepared for the Coronavirus Pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced plans to gradually reopen the state economy, issuing an Executive Order allowing all retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls to operate at 25 percent capacity by Friday, May 1 as part of a multi-phased reopening of the state economy stalled by the new coronavirus outbreak.

Within shopping malls, the food-court dining areas, play areas, and interactive displays and settings must remain closed as part of the order, Abbott said during his news conference staged at the state Capitol. Abbott said the order also will allow museums and libraries to reopen but with no greater than a 25 percent capacity of patrons.

If a two-week downward trend of illness is seen after the partial opening, other businesses — including barbershops, hair salons, bars and gyms among them — also would be allowed to reopen the governor said. Abbott stressed the reopening would be informed by health officials' guidance — the alliterative "doctors and data," as Abbott put it during his press conference unveiling the plans.


More from Patch

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon