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Round Rock nurse and COVID-19 frontline worker Nhi Phan was among 7,500 vaccinated health care workers who watched the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Chiefs in person on Sunday night.
Phan, a specialty triage nurse at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center, attended the Super Bowl as part of a thank-you gift from the Dallas Cowboys for risking her life in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nhi Phan (LinkedIn)
Phan was one of four selected by the Cowboys in a drawing that saw over 700 applicants. Although she told KXAN she was rooting for the Chiefs, the game was still a win for Phan, who had never attended a live football game prior to Sunday night.
The drawing was part of an initiative by the NFL to gift tickets to over 7,500 vaccinated health care workers around the country. Workers were recognized for their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic multiple times throughout the big game and were even thanked by President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden in an ad that aired before kickoff.
While all of the winning health care workers were vaccinated before the Super Bowl, social distancing practices such as wearing masks were still enforced to prevent COVID-19 transmission. Alongside the 7,500 health care workers, 14,500 others attended the game, bringing the total attendance to 22,000.
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Nearly half of Travis County residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated, as of Friday afternoon, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. And an even greater portion likely have immunity.
Austin-Travis County Interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott estimates that around 70% of local residents have some form of immunity to COVID-19, either because they have recovered from the disease or are vaccinated. This is approaching the threshold for herd immunity.
"We're starting to approach that 70% mark of combined disease and vaccination, so we may start to see some significant changes when it comes to disease trends," he told council members and county commissioners on Tuesday.
Escott arrived at this percentage by assuming that there is no overlap between those who have had COVID and those who have been vaccinated. "While there's certainly some overlap … there does not seem to be a lot of overlap between those two," he said.
Herd immunity occurs when enough people are immune to a disease that it is unlikely for someone who contracts the disease to spread it. With no one to infect, the disease dies out.
Public health experts have said herd immunity for COVID will require around 80% of the population to be immune based on its relative infectiousness.
Although natural immunity contributes to herd immunity and is partially responsible for the sharp downturn in the number of new COVID infections in recent months, vaccination is the gold standard among experts because of the increased security it offers.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler celebrated the new CDC guidance as proof of vaccines' efficacy. "Since more people will not be wearing masks, it makes it even more important to get vaccinated," he said in a statement Friday.
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It's that time again! Austin FC is back in Cali to take on the second Los Angeles powerhouse, LA Galaxy, at 2:30 p.m. this Saturday. The match will be shown on Univision and will be live on Twitter, and I'll be documenting the biggest saves and plays that could make you drop your beer right here.
Follow along for a live feed of the Austin FC match.
Second half begins, Austin strikes back
Austin FC has been outplayed by the Galaxy so far, but the club made two quick attempts as they went for a turnaround at the start of the second half. A shot by Danny Pereira goes high and wide, and a header by Danny Hoesen is just a bit too high.
38' Jimenez out on injury
Austin FC brings out the stretcher for right back Hector Jimenez, who fell in an attempt to save the LA Galaxy goal. Jimenez is replaced by Nick Lima after just 38 minutes in his first start with Austin FC.
35' LA Galaxy scores, goes up 1-0
LA Galaxy's Sebastian Lletget scores the match opener after overpowering a diving Hector Jimenez, curling a shot over Stuver to make the match 1-0.
25' Brad Stuver with a diving save!
BIG TIME BRAD.— Austin FC (@AustinFC) May 15, 2021
Take a bow, sir. 👏 pic.twitter.com/66kpgJ9o1e
Austin FC saw its first major threat from the formidable Chicharito when a penalty was drawn on Jhohan Romana. In his usual game-saving fashion, keeper Brad Stuver kept the scoreboard empty with a diving save in the bottom right corner.
2:05 p.m.- Austin FC lineup is released
Austin FC has big lineup changes heading into the big match, but the moves were mostly expected. Captain Alex Ring is out due to a second yellow card last match, and the club put standout rookie Daniel Pereira in his stead. Danny Hoesen is back at the crown of the lineup, and there are rumors that fellow striker Jon Gallagher didn't travel with the team due to injury. He's not on the bench this week.
Finally, Hector Jimenez gets his first start with the club at right back in the stead of Nick Lima.
2:00 p.m.- Los Verdes watch party, South-side style
Hundreds of people are at the Los Verdes watch party, including myself and a celebrity appearance in La Murga, Austin FC's own fan band.
Cheers can be heard every time an Austin FC player is featured on the screen on the Univision broadcast.