Texas Blackout vs. Recovering COVID-19 Patients

Texas Blackout vs. Recovering COVID-19 Patients

Hannah Stai, News Editor

In early February: a series of winter storms were the source of mass of blackouts and water and food shortages across the state of Texas. Following the second storm, on February 14, the home of Mauricio Matin in Richmond, Texas lost all power. As a result of the power loss, Marin’s breathing machine also shut down. 

Just a few weeks prior, Mauricio had been sent home with a breathing machine and portable oxygen tanks to help his lungs recover from his fight with COVID-19. At the time of the power outage, Marin only had two portable oxygen tanks left, which approximately gave him six hours left of breathing air.

For the next two days, Marin lay awake in his bed, trying to ration his own breathing as he watched the tanks’ gauge slowly deplete. Marin and his wife were unfortunately left stranded as the surrounding roads were iced over and their phones couldn’t collect enough signal to call for help. Marin’s life was barely spared by a neighbor contributing an extra oxygen tank that would last the few last hours of the power outage on February 17. 

At its peak, nearly 4.5 million Texas homes and businesses were left without power following the winter storms this past month. While some people were able to get by with warm blankets and stored water and food, many were left to struggle and fight for their lives; many people in a similar situation as Mauricio’s.