The snowstorm that hit Texas during the third week of February led to many piled-up damages. Widespread power losses and drinking water shortage were just some of the many repercussions of the glacial weather.
Hospitals in Texas faced an onslaught of problems as there were acute water shortages, wintry indoor temperatures, and a shortage of generators. Additionally, there was a spike in the number of people visiting the emergency room in desperate need of oxygen tanks and dialysis treatment. The water shortage was so severe that health workers were using bottled water for chemotherapy treatments.
Approximately 13 million Texans faced the brunt of the winter storm as they were asked to boil water for their safety due to the power failure at water treatment facilities. Broken water mains and burst pipes caused water to leak out, leading to water shortages. Nearly 797 water providers reported problems.
The snowstorm left 38 people dead, made several roads impassable, and covered nearly three-quarters of continental United States in snow. That’s not all—the storm also disrupted the COVID-19 vaccine distribution that was only beginning to gain momentum in the country. The delivery of hundreds of thousands of doses was delayed across the country because of the storm.
Florida, Utah, California, Washington, Illinois, and New Jersey, among other states, faced shipment delays, due to which vaccine sites had to close temporarily and appointments rescheduled. In Texas, delivery of more than 400,000 first doses and 330,000 second doses was delayed ahead of the bad weather.
Chris Van Deusen, a Texas Department of State Health Services spokesman, said on February 18 that the state was “asking providers that aren’t able to store vaccine due to power outages to transfer it elsewhere or administer it, so it doesn’t spoil.” Following this, health officials scrambled to administer 5,000 shots after there was a power outage at a storage facility where the vaccine doses were kept. The storm caused heavy damage, and it may take a while for Texas to get back up.