AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Health officials in Austin and Travis County announced Saturday plans to to open space in the Austin Convention Center for COVID-19 patients as hospitalizations in Texas set a record high for the 13th consecutive day.
State health officials reported 13,935 patients hospitalized statewide, 14 more than Friday.
The Alternate Care Site in Austin was initially established during a summer surge of the coronavirus, but has not yet taken patients, according to a statement from the Austin-Travis County Health Authority.
“Activating the Alternate Care Site means that we believe that it is inevitable that the healthcare system in Central Texas will exceed capacity and will soon be overwhelmed,” said Dr. Jason Pickett, deputy medical director of the health authority.
BOSTON (AP) — One Twitter wag joked about lights flickering on and off at the White House being Donald Trump signaling to his followers in Morse code after Twitter and Facebook squelched the president for inciting rebellion.
Though deprived of his big online megaphones, Trump does have alternative options of much smaller reach, led by the far right-friendly Parler — even if Google removed it from its app store Friday and Apple threatened the same.
Trump may launch his own platform. But that won’t happen overnight, and free speech experts anticipate growing pressure on all social media platforms to curb incendiary speech as Americans take stock of Wednesday’s violent takeover of the U.S. Capitol by a Trump-incited mob.
Twitter ended Trump’s nearly 12-year run on Friday. In shuttering his account it cited a tweet to his 89 million followers that he planned to skip President-elect Joe Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration that it said gave rioters license to converge on Washington once again.
MADRID (AP) — A persistent blizzard blanketed large parts of Spain with an unusual amount of snow on Saturday, killing at least four people and leaving thousands trapped in cars or at train stations and airports that suspended all services.
The national weather agency reported that as of 7 a.m., the snowfall in Madrid reached a level unseen in half a century. More than 50 centimeters (20 inches) of snow fell in the Spanish capital, according to the weather agency AEMET.
The bodies of a man and woman were recovered by the Andalucía region emergency service after their car was washed away by a flooded river near the town of Fuengirola. The Interior Ministry said a 54-year-old man was also found dead in Madrid under a big pile of snow. A homeless man died of hypothermia in the northern city of Zaragoza, the local police department reported.
More than half of Spain’s provinces remained under severe weather alerts for Storm Filomena on Saturday evening, seven of them at the highest level of warning.
In Madrid, authorities activated a red alert for the first time since the system was adopted four decades ago and called in the military to rescue people from vehicles trapped on everything from small roads to the city’s major thoroughfares.