Is this good news? Is this a sign that we’re turning the corner? It depends. For now, we should all be cautiously optimistic concerning what Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is doing concerning the planned re-opening of its economy. The Wuhan coronavirus has ground the US economy to a halt. The vast majority of the country is under stay-at-home orders. Millions have filed for unemployment. It’s brutal out there. As of today, over 22,000 Americans have been killed by the virus. Over 550,000 have been infected by this highly contagious pneumonia-like virus that has spread like a brushfire, especially in the Tri-State area. New York City accounts for most of the US-based cases. Our health care system is stressed, but it hasn’t been overrun. We have the resources to handle this crisis at present and new hospitalizations over the weekend were flat nationwide. Still, wash your hands, avoid touching your face, and stay home. But sorry, I digress. Texas will start mapping its phased re-opening of its economy this week, but Gov. Abbott cautioned that this will not be a rush to open the floodgates (via Texas Tribune):
“This is not gonna be a rush-the-gates, everybody-is-able-to-suddenly-reopen-all-at-once” situation, Abbott said during a news conference at the Texas Capitol in Austin where he announced $50 million in loans to small businesses suffering under the pandemic.
Abbott also told reporters to expect an announcement this week on whether schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year. Abbott previously ordered them closed until May 4.
The governor gave his latest news conference as the total of coronavirus cases in Texas hit at least 13,906, with 287 deaths, according to the latest numbers from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Out of Texas’ 254 counties, 178 are reporting cases.
The virus continues to spread, but Abbott and other state officials coordinating the response have struck a more optimistic tone in recent days, noting the declining rate at which the number of Texas cases is doubling. On Monday, Abbott called trends like that “glimmers of hope with a bunch of red flags attached.”
We’re in for the long haul here, folks. We should all be resigned to the fact that it will take many months before things return to normal. This disease is still being understood and not everyone gets sick, though those who are asymptomatic can still spread it. On average, two-to-three people are infected by someone carrying the virus, more than the flu. It can live on certain surfaces for up to three days. It’s why social distancing is the best tool we have right now until we have a proper vaccine. Until then, stay safe, wash your hands, and hang in there. For those who can work from home, count your blessings. At the same time, we cannot survive another 4-6 weeks of total economic lockdown.