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Coronavirus in Texas: Scholars at Texas A&M warned years ago that U.S. was not prepared for the next pandemic

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Thousands of people waited in line Tuesday at Waco ISD Stadium to receive disaster relief food boxes from the Central Texas Food Bank. Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune

Thursday’s biggest developments:

  • State expected to release updated information about coronavirus cases
  • Texas A&M scholars warned years ago that U.S. was not prepared for the next pandemic

Texas A&M scholars warned years ago that U.S. was not prepared for the next pandemic

[5 a.m.] Three Texas A&M University pandemic scholars warned years ago that the United States was not ready for the next pandemic, the Houston Chronicle reported.

“It is not a matter of if, but when, the next disease will sweep through the world with deadly and costly consequences,” Christine Blackburn, Andrew Natsios and Gerald Parker wrote in an article in 2018 published on an academic website called The Conversation.

The article pointed to vulnerabilities in global supply chains — and warned of a possible shortage of N95 masks if an epidemic hit a certain spot in Asia.

“This interconnectedness of the global economy and the expansiveness of medical supply chains means that a disruption anywhere along the line could spell disaster worldwide,” the article said.

The authors recommended creating a White House position to focus on pandemics as threats to national security.

Texas reports 15,492 cases and 364 deaths

[5 a.m.] Texas officials on Thursday are expected to release the latest information about coronavirus cases in Texas. On Wednesday, Texas reported 868 more cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of about 6% over the previous day, bringing the total number of known cases to 15,492. The state reported 46 additional deaths, bringing the statewide total to 364 — an increase of about 14% from Tuesday.

As of Wednesday, 1,538 patients were known to be hospitalized in Texas. That was an increase of 129 patients from Tuesday. At least 151,810 tests have been conducted. Here are maps and charts showing how coronavirus has spread across Texas. — Mandi Cai

Disclosure: Texas A&M University has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune's journalism. Find a complete list of them here.