AUSTIN (AP) – Texas has reported 290 more deaths from the new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is plummeting. The Texas Department of State Health Services said Friday that the state’s pandemic death toll from COVID-19 now totals 42,575. The state’s confirmed and probable coronavirus cases rose by 7,332 to almost 2.63 million. An estimated 174,645 cases are active and 6,185 required hospitalization, down by 794 this week. Figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University show the rolling average number of daily new Texas cases fell by 4,179.6 per day over the past two weeks, a decrease of 36.7%.
MEXICO CITY (AP) – The processing of asylum seekers waiting to enter the United States has expanded to a third border crossing, even as nongovernmental organizations called for more effort to protect the thousands still in Mexican border cities. A week after the U.S. government began processing those with active cases made to wait in Mexico during the Trump administration at a border crossing between Tijuana and San Diego, the process expanded this week to the Matamoros-Brownsville crossing and Friday to Ciudad Juarez-El Paso. The organization Doctors Without Borders, which works along the migratory routes through Central America and Mexico, warned Friday that there are places where migrants remain at great risk.
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s legal battle against San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and the city’s top leadership has entered a new phase. Paxton has filed a petition in a state district court in San Antonio seeking to strip McManus of his job. Paxton has been tangling with San Antonio in a state district court in Austin since November 2018 over the Alamo City’s handling of immigrants lacking documents. Now, he alleges that McManus has violated state law by failing to turn over suspect immigrants to federal agents. San Antonio City Attorney Andy Segovia describes the petition as frivolous.
HOUSTON (AP/Staff) – President Joe Biden heard firsthand from Texans clobbered by this month’s brutal winter weather. Biden and his wife, Jill, heard from emergency officials and visited a food bank. The president thanked emergency workers for doing “God’s work.” It was his first trip to a major disaster site since he took office a little over a month ago. Another stop: a major vaccination center to encourage people to get their coronavirus shots. The unusual winter weather across the South over Valentine’s weekend battered multiple states. Texas bore the brunt of unseasonably frigid conditions that caused widespread power outages and frozen pipes that burst and flooded homes. Millions of residents lost heat and running water.