[WB1] The good news in Harris County and Texas is that for the first time in weeks (more specifically, since the start of the George Floyd protests on 29 May in Houston), our COVID-19 hospitalization and case numbers are beginning to taper ever so slightly downward. It’s a little early to call it a trend, even though at least one reporter at the area newspaper of record has called such slight movements upwards SPIKES (their favorite word) in the past. We’ll take the good news and hope the downward trend not only holds, but accelerates.
[WB2] COVID-19 fatalities in Texas remain relatively low, as Bill King explores in this post.
[WB3] As we’ve noted previously, Houston-area government institutions never prioritized contact tracing as a means of stopping the COVID-19 spread. Hence, it’s entirely unsurprising that the most recent uptick in cases overwhelmed their limited capacity. Local leaders continue to agitate for more power to force citizens/taxpayers to stay in their homes, while they focus on other priorities and many liquor (51%) bars continue to operate at 100% in the City of Houston. The governor should give our locals no additional powers when it comes to the pandemic, as they’ve not proven to be fully responsible and effective stewards of the authority they do have.
[WB4] Harris County leaders (Democratic judges and members of commissioners court) HAVE prioritized “bond reform” in Harris County, which has led to consequences such as this:
A convicted sex offender and former youth basketball coach who was out on bond for continuous sexual abuse of a child in Harris County is now accused of murder and kidnapping in southwest Louisiana.
Too many local elected leaders in Harris County are failing us.
[WB5] Harris County jury trials – and the people overseeing the PR effort behind getting them restarted during the pandemic – are also *ahem* struggling to deliver. There is no way people who value their health should go anywhere close to this hot mess.
[WB6] A man who spent time in prison after being arrested by now-disgraced HPD officer Gerald Goines is suing him.
[WB7] The area newspaper of record reports that COVID-19 is “raging through Houston’s Hispanic communities.” Local leaders seem to think it’s an education issue, when it may well be a means/living-situation issue:
Most of the clinic’s COVID-19 patients were exposed to the virus at home by family members, Mir said, which is a particular risk when many of her clients live in crowded homes or apartments with several generations present.
“How can we best educate our patients and communities about how to maintain that social distancing and disinfecting?” she said. “I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job in providing that message out to our Hispanic community and other communities that don’t have the ability to self-isolate in one room while the rest of the house can live normally.”
If they don’t have the ability, then no matter of education will help. What do local leaders propose to do (beyond complaining to the governor they’d like more power to order people around)?
[WB8] In another story, the area newspaper of record finds that the virus raged, tragically, through a Hispanic family. This tidbit made it into the story:
Transmission among those living in the same household is occurring with COVID-19, said Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, an assistant professor of medicine in infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine.
One of the newspaper’s editors actually tried to shame me on twitter for highlighting that useful information – apparently he thought I was supposed to be immobilized by the sadness of the story and unable to do anything but weep. While the story IS tragic, it would be nice to draw conclusions from these stories and try to formulate effective policy to head off additional tragedies (instead of crying into the keyboard/touchscreen and being generally unable to cope). The virus does not care if you’re weepy or if you really love your family; it’s opportunistic. So what policy measures can we take (if any) to avoid future sad stories like this one?
[WB9] In other Chron editing “highlights,” the newspaper reminds us, proudly, that it has refused to use the name of an NFL team for a while now. Because Hearst Houston is WOKE. Or something.
[WB10] In its latest hit piece on Greg Abbott, the area newspaper of record laments that the governor is eluding media scrutiny. In a “news” piece that scrutinizes the governor (the irony apparently eluded the headline writer and any editors at the newspaper). It features this cutting-edge “analysis”:
“His hand movements and the way he listens, he’s projecting competence,” said Jason Loviglio, a professor of media and communications studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
[WB11] One Chron reporter apparently thinks Gov. Abbott commands the U.S. Navy. He does not.
[WB12] The Astros are set to get underway on Friday at Minute Maid, with Justin Verlander scheduled to start the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. We could really use some (championship) baseball about now. Go ‘Stros!