In his phased, cautious reopening of the Texas economy, Gov. Greg Abbott has warned a spike in Covid-19 cases will be cause to take a step back.
Don’t bet on it happening.
Spikes of Covid-19 cases in rural areas of the state — which make up the majority of Texas — won’t be enough to offset the falling rate of infection in hard hit cities like Dallas and Houston. Abbott isn’t looking at Lamar County numbers alone in his so-called data-driven approach, so our spike — from eight cases April 26 to 57 on April 28 to 126 on Wednesday — won’t even register on state officials’ radar.
How can Abbott’s approach to reopening be called data-driven when there’s no time to gather and report the data from one step before the next step is taken? Last week, the state set new daily records for the most cases and deaths, yet the plan to reopen continues unabated. There will be no reversing course, and the governor should be upfront about that.
But just because it’s politically untenable for Abbott to slow things down does not mean the threat of Covid-19 is over. You wouldn’t know that by venturing to some local businesses — too many employees are wearing masks incorrectly if they wear them at all despite company rhetoric of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guideline enforcement, and fewer and fewer shoppers are wearing masks themselves.
Yes, we’re tired of distancing ourselves. We’re exhausted by the frequent cleaning and our hands are chapped from using sanitizer after every trip out (hand washing is more effective anyway). We’re done with foggy glasses every time we strap a mask to our face. But these aren’t forever measures. Vaccines are in the works, and soon enough Covid-19 will either be a seasonal bug like the flu or will fall by the wayside like polio.
In the meantime, however, it’s up to us to individually make the decision to protect those around us from the threat of Covid-19 by following the guidelines. We’ve nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing so.