As Texas Gov. Greg Abbott continues his plans to reopen business in the state with further restrictions likely lifted later this month, consider this: It’s not how fast we can reopen the economy, it’s how many deaths and whose deaths we are OK with. What he means when he talks about loosening restrictions and seeing what happens is: People will die.
Widespread testing data and a willingness to do what may not be politically popular or in line with the president is what’s going to make the difference. We must prepare ourselves for a major outbreak in Texas within a month if the governor’s push to reopen continues before any basic criteria are met. Certainty is tempting, the desire for relief is real, but if we push forward before the science says we are ready, more Texans will die.
The Spanish flu lasted two years. Most of the deaths did not happen in the first wave.
Noah Masterson, Austin
* * *
As an intelligent nation, we must use rationale and reason in our resolve during this pandemic. This virus is unlikely to be eradicated. I pose this question to all: Before the coronavirus, during your everyday activities, shopping, dining, sporting events, etc., did you ever consider the numerous communicable and potentially deadly diseases already prevalent?
I respect one’s decision to protect against the virus, but irrational fear is a useless weapon. Also, I caution those who believe government will replace your lost revenue. You are more likely to see your taxes increase, as government will need to refill their coffers. I see little flowing the other way.
Brett Solem, Lorena
EDITOR’S NOTE: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last week allowed his stay-at-home executive order to expire last Thursday. Most businesses can now let in customers at 25% capacity if they’re in counties with more than five confirmed cases of coronavirus (and as of late Saturday, McLennan County had 10 confirmed cases that are “active”). Shops and restaurants in rural counties with fewer than five cases of COVID-19 can reopen up to 50% of occupancy. Abbott said counties could revert back to more limited capacity if there is a new outbreak of coronavirus cases. He said Texas could lift more restrictions as soon as May 18 barring “flare-ups” of COVID-19 cases.
What, me worry?
Observed the following while shopping at Walmart today when it was 96 degrees outside. My statistics are not scientific but my best estimates: The number of people not wearing masks outweighed those of us wearing them (as recommended by competent medical authority) by about 7 to 1. The number of people not practicing social distancing outweighed those of us who were by about 50 to 1.
This leads me to several possible alternative conclusions: Some people think they’re invincible and don’t need masks nor do they need to practice social distancing, or they think the high temperature killed the virus, or the words “coronavirus” and “social distancing” are too big for them to understand.
Wake up, people! The coronavirus thus far has infected 91 people in McLennan County and killed four. Do you want to add to those statistics? If you really don’t care, please stay out of the stores to keep the rest of us safe.
John Baker, Hewitt