Weekend brunch for 26 July 2020

News and views from around the web

Chinese consulate in Houston in 2015 - Image credit: Wikimedia (CC0 1.0)

[WB1] After initial local TV reports that the Chinese consulate was burning documents in its courtyard, the New York Times and Wall Street Journal reported that the US government had ordered the consulate closed. The Houston Chronicle initially checked in with AP coverage, before turning to pro-China state representative Gene Wu for comment on the matter. US officials took over the complex on Friday.

[WB2] Texas and the Houston-area showed signs of improvement again this week in terms of COVID-19 new cases, positivity rate, and hospitalization numbers (although Hidalgo county remains somewhat under siege). Some journalists (and politicians/academics who favor extensive lockdowns) almost seem disappointed. Nonetheless, area pols did order area schools to delay their in-person classes until at least 8 September.

[WB3] The virus is highly opportunistic and really likes crowded/congregate living arrangements, which are a couple of key takeaways from separate Chronicle and New York Times stories.

[WB4] The Chronicle ran an interesting story (that did not really match this headline: With extra $600 in unemployment set to expire, many face hardship as pandemic worsens in Texas) about a single mother with four children who doesn’t know what she is going to do when her government-provided direct income of roughly $3,500 per month in pandemic-benefits begins to be reduced.

[WB5] Meanwhile, many hospitality firms are finding it difficult to draw workers back from unemployment, because of the pandemic unemployment support. Some observers were shamed during the legislative debate over pandemic relief when they suggested this very thing might happen.

[WB6] Bankruptcies related to the pandemic and energy price crash are starting to hit Texas and the Houston area – hard.

[WB7] The Houston Astros baseball season got underway over the weekend (with the team going 2-1 at home), but the bigger news is an injury that will sideline Justin Verlander for at least two weeks. The Chronicle’s Astros beat writer got out over his skis slightly with a story during Sunday’s game that team officials would shortly be announcing that Verlander was done for the rest of the season. Verlander tweeted that the story was inaccurate, and that he’ll be out two weeks. Losing Verlander would obviously deal a blow to the World Series contender.

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Kevin Whited
About Kevin Whited 4241 Articles
Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX