[WB1] After a period in late May/early June when so many Houstonians acted as if the pandemic was over and took to the streets by the thousands for demonstrations, and to the bars for typical bar behavior, and to family gatherings that become super-spreader events, we’re now back to COVID-19 Square One in Houston and Harris County. Apparently, we have to learn the hard way that the virus does not care about the righteousness of your cause (or your need to hang with your buds), no matter how much the irresponsible editor of the Houston Chronicle editorial page or political leaders supporting protests during a pandemic want to pretend otherwise.
The county judge issued her red alert this week (and has since gone into quarantine because a staffer tested positive for the virus – as usual, nobody was forthcoming on the suspected cause); the governor gave Texas bars all of three hours to shut down (again) on Friday as part of his pandemic response; and virus cases and associated hospitalizations continue to tick up in Harris County and in Texas.
Maybe shutting the bars will convince younger people and COVID-19 deniers that this thing is for real, although at quite the cost to Texas bar owners. Everyone will still have restaurants available for their public drinking needs, although at reduced capacity, so maybe that’s a more responsible way to go. Or maybe not, if we don’t reduce the familial super-spreading events. We’ll see!
If there’s any good news, it is that the cases are trending much younger, both in Houston (though the Chron story inexplicably omits any mention of the George Floyd demonstrations that started on May 29 in Houston and were frequented by young people) and across the nation. The virus still kills young people, unfortunately, but not nearly at the same rate as it does older folks.
[WB2] Mayor Turner’s newly announced police reform task force is already drawing skepticism from the community.
[WB3] A longtime Harris County prosecutor is in hot water over a social media post.
[WB4] Houston’s main real estate association will no longer be using “master” in reference to bedrooms. And the namesake of Rice University has also come under fire.
[WB5] Houston Public Media will be downsizing as a result of economic downturn in Houston caused by the pandemic and low oil prices. About the only thing that hasn’t been downsizing is… government, at any level.
[WB6] To wit, a Turner mayoral staffer frequently finds time during his workday to post reviews about an Austin public policy think tank that he doesn’t like. During campaign season, he regularly found time to attack other mayoral candidates. Your “essential” government in action, folks.
[WB7] KTRK-13 reporter Miya Shay apparently discovered a weeks-old Houston Chronicle story on using wastewater tests to address COVID-19 this week. She seems to have forgotten to give any credit to the newspaper.
[WB8] Those who envision Houston as an outdoor, walkable, bikeable, livable utopia can make a really great case from about March deep into May (if we’re lucky). And then the reality of Houston kicks it. The months that follow are brutal for outdoor activities. Houston is not San Diego. If you “build it,” most people are not going to come in July/August/September and revel in the heat/humidity. They just aren’t.
[WB9] The Astros and Major League baseball are due back in just under a month, for a short season to be played under modified rules. We’ll take it!
The United States celebrates a birthday next weekend. Here’s wishing you all a happy, safe, properly distanced Independence Day!