COVID-19 cases in Texas continue to grow as we have had over 1,000 new cases in 6 of the last 8 days. Before this uptick, Texas had only had 2 days with over 1,000 new cases according to DSHS. Likewise, reported deaths according to DSHS have also had an uptick, with 3 of our 4 worst days coming in the last 9 days, according to DSHS.
During a press conference on April 27th announcing Phase 1 of reopening to begin May 1st, Governor Abbott said, “We need to see two weeks of data to confirm no flare-up of COVID-19. That is exactly why now, more than ever, Texans must continue safe distancing practices. If we do that, we will be able to expand into Phase 2, opening up our economy even more,” Abbott said. “Safely opening Texas for business requires four things. One, a commitment to continue safe distancing practices that reduce the spread of COVID-19. Two, reliance on doctors and data to provide the safest strategies. Three, a focus on protecting the most vulnerable from exposure to COVID-19. Four, a reminder that it is entrepreneurs that drive the Texas economy. They need to be unleashed to restore livelihoods while all of us remain focused on protecting the lives of our fellow Texans.”
However, now the Governor has gone back on his word and announced earlier this week that some businesses originally in Phase 2 could open this Friday, May 8th and that all of Phase 2 is set to go into effect May 18th, despite not having “two weeks of data” to see the impact of Phase 1 yet.
Similarly, the concerns about the lack of necessary testing, contact tracers, and better data collection all still exist. There has been a little progress on these issues, but not up to the benchmarks we need to meet to safely reopen according to public health experts. (click here to read last week’s Coleman Chronicle on the benchmarks we need to meet) I want to get back to normal and re-open the economy too, but doing it too hastily and in an unsafe manner is just going to lead to an unnecessary increase in cases and deaths.
That is why I want to continue to stress to all of you to please continue to:
- practice social distancing;
- only go out in public when necessary;
- when you do go out wear a face mask; and
- to wash your hands, and avoid touching your face.
There are people whose work requires them to go out to help us all stay safe, healthy, and fed. We can help those essential workers out by staying home. If we work together we can do our best to minimize the number of deaths by following the recommendations above and encouraging our friends and family to do the same.