Citing medical research and testimonies from physicians, Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) urged Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday to change the state’s response to COVID-19.
“I urge you in the strongest possible way to immediately shift our strategy for fighting COVID-19 from that of restraint and control of the entire Texas population, to that of early intervention medical treatment of those who are infected and the medically vulnerable,” Hall said in a letter to the governor.
Hall quoted one physician, Dr. Richard Bartlett, who reported success in treating patients with budesonide therapy.
“I discovered this treatment as a stopgap measure in order to empirically treat patients and manage their symptoms as the current recommendations from the CDC and WHO have no community-based strategies for COVID-19,” Bartlett said.
“Thus far, 100 [percent] of my patients appear to be symptom-free following a course of inhaled Budesonide therapy. These successful outcomes include Texans who are at the highest risk for a very poor prognosis.”
Hall also referenced information from Dr. Brian Proctor, a North Texas physician who said that patients should be treated early with therapies including hydroxychloroquine.
Proctor underscored that providing care to coronavirus patients in advance is preferable to waiting until a person’s condition has deteriorated to the point that hospitalization is required.
Hall decried the current strategy of imposing restrictions on the whole population, and praised Texas’ healthcare professionals who have demonstrated the supposed viability of this proposed path forward.
“Our very capable Texas ‘boots-on-the-ground’ doctors have demonstrated that there is a viable medical strategy. A strategy that does not trample individual liberties, irreparably damage our economy, and ensures all Texans can return to getting their medical needs met,” Hall emphasized.
Not all in the medical community see eye-to-eye on what best practices should constitute in Texas.
Dr. Diana Fite, the president of the Texas Medical Association, said today in a Fox News appearance that while Texas residents followed social distancing recommendations well in March and April, the outbreak has worsened since May 1 because Texans are not following precautionary measures as carefully.
Fite also addressed hospital capacity concerns, saying that hospital systems are again considering backup plans for a surge of COVID-19 patients.
“[A] lot of the patients now are younger and not quite as sick, but because of the volume we have a lot of very sick people, too, so we may have to go to the next phase of opening up something like a stadium,” Fite said.
Hall ended his letter with a call for a special session.
“I know these decisions are a heavy burden to carry alone, so I would urge you call the Legislature into a special session and let us help you carry that burden.”
COVID-19 has killed 2,813 Texans to date, according to state data. Health officials estimate that 113,284 Texans have recovered from the disease.
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Hayden Sparks is a reporter for The Texan in Dallas. During the academic year, he coaches high school competitive speech and debate and has also been involved in community theater and politics. A native Texan, Hayden served as a delegate at the Republican Party of Texas Convention in 2016. He is on track to receive a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Liberty University. In his free time, Hayden is known to take walks around the neighborhood while listening to random music on Spotify.