Dallas runs out of children’s ICU beds as California makes vaccines or testing mandatory in schools

The US COVID crisis has seen children’s intensive care beds run out in Dallas and masks and testing to be made obligatory in schools across California.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced on Saturday that there were no paediatric ICU beds available across the entire 19-county area.

Asked what to do if your child falls ill with coronavirus, he said: “Your child will wait for another child to die.

“Your child will just not get on a ventilator. Your child will be care-flighted to Temple or Oklahoma City or wherever we can find them a bed, but they won’t be getting one here unless one clears.”

Mr Jenkins signed an executive order this week requiring masks to be worn inside schools, public buildings and businesses, amid the rapid spread of the Delta variant.

It came after another judge granted a temporary restraining order against Texas governor Greg Abbott, who was trying to ban such rules.

Students and staff will have to undergo weekly testing or be fully vaccinated from this month in California. Pic: AP
Image:Students and staff will have to undergo weekly testing or be fully vaccinated from this month in California. Pic: AP

A similar disagreement has played out in South Carolina, where state governor Henry McMaster is threatening to withhold funding from schools in the capital of Columbia if they insist on making masks compulsory.

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Meanwhile in California this week, governor Gavin Newsom announced he will make vaccines or regular testing a legal requirement for all students and teachers when schools return this month.

He has also said that all healthcare workers must be fully vaccinated and government employees must choose between weekly testing and getting their jabs if they want to keep their jobs.

The subjects of vaccines and masks are a point of contention between governor Newsom and Larry Elder, his rival candidate in California’s upcoming recall election.

California governor Gavin Newsom. Pic: AP
Image:California governor Gavin Newsom. Pic: AP

Mr Newsom has referred to Mr Elder as an extremist who “does not believe in mask wearing” in a bid to keep his job as governor.

But Mr Elder has suggested only those who are vulnerable should be getting vaccinated.

Also on Friday, US drug regulators approved booster jabs for people who are immunocompromised.

Vulnerable groups in the UK are due to start getting third doses from September.

The move will mean an extra vaccine dose for around 10 million Americans, including people who have had organ transplants and cancer patients.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) voted unanimously in favour of the move on Friday, suggesting that the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson jabs may not stave off COVID for the more vulnerable.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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