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Published Aug 11, 2021 by A.J. Mistretta
A Letter to the Business Community from the Partnership and Local Business and Health Care Leaders
We are writing in our capacities as leaders of the Greater Houston Partnership and as leaders of our respective Texas Medical Center institutions.
The situation in Houston with respect to COVID-19 and specifically the Delta variant is acute. This, the fourth wave of the current pandemic, is proving to be as severe as anything we have yet faced and does not yet show signs of peaking. You can view the latest data from the TMC here.
As you’ve no doubt read, the Delta variant is more transmissible (contagious) than the original virus and the previous variants – on the order of twice as transmissible. It is at least as virulent (harmful in its effect) as the earlier strains. The greatly increased transmissibility combined with equal or perhaps worse virulence has led to a severe outbreak among unvaccinated Houstonians. The large number of cases among the unvaccinated has contributed to a significant number of “breakthrough cases” among the vaccinated. While breakthrough cases tend to be much milder and typically do not lead to hospitalization, they too are transmissible and are contributing to the overall spread.
All of this has led to a critical situation in Houston hospitals. While the effects, system by system, are uneven, all of our local hospital systems are dealing with a strain on ICU capacity and a shortage of nurses and other medical staff.
What can you – what can we – do as business leaders in Houston? Without meaning to be presumptuous, we’d ask you to consider the following measures:
The current surge calls upon all of us across the community, including businesses, to take action to reverse the direction of the current wave and bring this virus to a manageable endemic level. We all believe we have a responsibility for protecting the health and safety of our employees in the workplace. While the responsibility clearly rests with each of us individually as employers, the benefit of joint action will be profound.
Amy Chronis, Chair, Greater Houston Partnership
Marc Watts, Chair COVID-19 Task Force, Greater Houston Partnership
Bob Harvey, President and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership
Dr. Marc Boom, President and CEO, Houston Methodist
Dr. David Callender, President and CEO, Memorial Hermann Health System
Dr. Paul Klotman, President CEO, Baylor College of Medicine
Doug Lawson, CEO, CHI St. Luke’s Health
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