[WB1] This week, national media offered several reports suggesting that American authorities increasingly suspect that the coronavirus was more likely to have escaped a Wuhan virology lab than to have been transferred from a bat in a wet market (the Chinese Communist Party’s official line on the matter).
We noted this possibility way back on 9 February based on this article – and suggested at the time that the fact Asian-Americans were staying away from Houston’s Asiatown was entirely reasonable, given their knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party’s past behavior on SARS and other matters, even as so many nags and scolds were accusing Houstonians of being racists (never mind that ASIAN-Americans were staying away from Asiatown!) and organizing dining meetups (likely contributing to asymptomatic community spread).
[WB2] Nevertheless, the area newspaper of record is apparently wedded to the notion that Houstonians are racist, based on a damning anecdote or two a scribbler was able to round up (as they also did during the Asiatown dining scolding/shaming, despite the fact that Asian Americans were the ones overwhelmingly avoiding Asiatown, as noted above). On twitter, I challenged Chron journalists (or anyone else) to parse the article’s nonsensical headline:
Unsurprisingly, nobody took me up on my request.
[WB3] We believe that Houston’s Asian American community understands very well the dangers posed by the Chinese Communist Party. It’s unfortunate that ANY racist incidents have taken place in Houston. Individual Asian Americans don’t deserve to be blamed for the behavior of China’s leadership – but a sober assessment of China’s leadership (and enablers like the WHO) also isn’t, by default, an act of racism.
[WB4] As we have been noting for some time, the economic downturn coming to Houston related to COVID-19 and also the unprecedented oil supply/demand mismatch will be severe and prolonged. Nevertheless, the City of Houston has yet to announce furloughs or even a hiring freeze.
[WB5] The coming crime wave is also not likely to be pretty, although many area Dems remain determined to hasten the ongoing release of violent criminals from Harris County jails due to COVID-19.
[WB6] Gov. Abbott announced a timeline and a task force to get Texas back to work. Strangely, the initial task force does not include any notable local elected officials. Respected University of Houston professor Craig Pirrong makes the case it’s well past time to move on from the lockdowns. That said, here is a reminder that the danger of COVID-19 should not be downplayed: It is a much more deadly, difficult virus than the common flu. We will have to go about this re-opening thoughtfully.
[WB7] How are the city, state, and country likely to evolve as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? A number of of writers have gotten out their crystal balls and offered some interesting thoughts:
- COVID-19 is changing how we work forever and Houston office real estate long-term – Jay Wall, Houston Chronicle
- Will COVID-19 force planners to rethink their love of density? – Steven Greenhut, Orange County Register
- America’s biggest cities were already losing their allure. What happens next? – Sabrina Tavernise and Sarah Mervosh, New York Times
- COVID-19 puts urban desnity to the test – Kerry Gold, The Globe and Mail
- It’s time to build – Marc Andreeson
- Our new frontier – Jarrett Stepman, The American Mind
[WB8] Mark Bennett comments on child abuse and (Houston Chronicle) journalistic malpractice.
[WB9] The Chronicle’s transportation stenographer laments the fact that Houston Public Works will be disregarding the preferences of biking special interests to inconvenience Houston drivers in favor of their pet projects in the reconstruction of Spur 527. Instead, the project will accommodate the preferences of driving-oriented commuters (by far Houston’s dominant transportation mode).
[WB10] Lisa Gray looks into CrowdSource Rescue, the group that helped crowdsource Hurricane Harvey response and is now addressing grocery delivery needs in the Houston area.
Stay safe, all!