Sunday, January 24, 2021

El Paso Mayor: COVID ‘Fatigue,’ Shopping at Big Stores to Blame for Virus Spike

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The mayor of El Paso, Texas — where nearly 700,000 people have been hospitalized for the coronavirus — is blaming COVID-19 “fatigue” and shopping at big box stores.

In an interview Sunday on CBS News’ “Face The Nation,” Mayor Dee Margo said the city started noting a sharp spike in cases about six weeks ago.

“The consensus is people just had COVID fatigue and they let down,” he said.

“We did a deep dive in our contact tracing for the week of November the 10th through the 16th and found out that 55% of the positives were coming from shopping at large retailers, what we’d term as the big box stores,” he said, noting they are considered essential businesses.

“I don’t have any control over any limitations there. We’ve asked for voluntary limitations and Wal-Mart and several others are starting to … limit the occupancy of their stores,” he added.”

He noted the city had already ordered the shutdown of restaurant bars at 9 p.m. for indoor dining, but that “the state of Texas allowed bars to convert to restaurants with food trucks… some of them were kind of gaming the system, we think, and there was a lot of congregation there.”

Nearly a month ago, the El Paso area had reached capacity at hospitals, according to county officials, the CBS News affiliate reported.

“Right now in the hospital — the latest numbers I have on our hospitalization is we are at 79% of our hospitalization capacity, which gives us 21% excess of which … we haven’t had in some time,” Margo told “Face The Nation.”


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