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Medical assistants administer COVID-19 sampling tests last week in Houston. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Texas has requested five mortuary trailers from FEMA to help deal with an expected surge in COVID-19 deaths, NBC News reports.

The big picture: The trailers will be based in San Antonio and sent around the state as needed. Officials ordered them at the start of the month after data showed deaths in Texas are surging, Department of State Health Services spokesperson Doug Loveday told NBC.

  • "We are anticipating a need within the state of Texas for these trailers as COVID cases and hospitalizations continue to increase," Loveday said.
  • Chris Van Deusen, a spokesperson for the same agency, said the trailers were ordered as a precaution and that no localities have requested them.
Data: CDC; Chart: Axios Visuals

State of play: Texas has seen a surge in new cases, amid the spread of the Delta variant, with the state's seven-day coronavirus death rate seeing its highest levels since March 2021.

  • In North Texas, no pediatric ICU beds are left as cases surge among the young as well, NBC News reported.
  • Last week, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott asked hospitals to delay elective procedures to free up space for COVID-19 patients.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to show Texas' seven-day coronavirus death rate is at its highest levels since March 2021 (not March 2020).

Go deeper

Oct 14, 2021 - Sports

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban says he requires all employees to be vaccinated

Photo: Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a podcast Wednesday that he requires all of his employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Driving the news: Cuban's comments come the same week Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order Monday that prohibits COVID-19 vaccine mandates by any "entity," including employers.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Booster shots overtake first doses in the U.S. — Pfizer to vaccinate entire Brazilian city as part of study — FDA panel endorses shot of J&J booster for adultsU.S. to lift restrictions for fully vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8.
  2. Health: New cases down, but the West is at risk — Low vaccination rates exacerbate America's caregiving crisis — COVID is here to stay. So what does "victory" look like? — FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill.
  3. Politics: NHL announces all but four players have been vaccinated — WHO names new advisory group on COVID origins — Biden admin warns Moderna to "step up" global vaccine supply.
  4. Education: LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations amid staffing shortage — Parent sues Wisconsin school district after child tests positive — Arizona can't use aid for anti-mask education grants, Treasury says.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 14, 2021 - Health

FDA will review Merck COVID-19 pill

The Merck logo. Photo Illustration by Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Thursday that it will meet on Nov. 30th to review Merck's experimental oral antiviral COVID-19 treatment

Why it matters: An oral antiviral drug designed to prevent or treat COVID-19 could be a key tool to combat the pandemic. Merck ended its vaccine development in January.