At the end of week we will mark a very telling move in our battle to stay COVID-19 free. For many of us, we have been monitoring our movements, and listening very closely to our government. This week in some ways, that will change. If ever there was a time when people turned their back on the government, I think you will see it happening this week with the COVID-19 situation.
It’s simple for many of us, we are not engaging in risky behavior like mass gathering until we hear the CDC say it is ideal for the government to reopen. Our government has shown that they cannot be trusted to do the right thing in regards to following advice from the CDC. Take Texas for example, A three phase rule was put into place as a road map for reopening the states. Texas has not mastered the first rule which details a decline in COVID-19 cases for at least 14 days. Not only has Texas not mastered the first phase, but Texas hasn’t tested nearly enough people to claim any sort of success. If anything lawsuits have helped to bring us to where we are today.
It’s simple, some of us are not caving. In my city, we already have multiple businesses as essential. We have pawn shops, loan places, banks, restaurants (Drive Thru), gas stations, grocery stores, home improvement stores, Best Buy (saw cars in parking lot), Target, Walmart’s, Sams, Dollar General, Family Dollar, and Aldi open to the public. Our COVID-19 numbers keep going up which probably have something to do with the amount of things that never really closed down. The retail section of Governor Abbott’s move to reopen Texas does not bother me as much as the move to open state parks.
Social distancing was put in place to prevent large amounts of people from standing near each other in the stores, but nothing really mandated any of the organizations I named above to shut down. If anything, what the new retail policy will look like, will be more stores having to deliver, take togo orders, and utilize shipping opportunities. As of this date, our numbers continue to increase, so does the largest city in our county. We were the epicenter for a month or two. Now, the city outside of Fort Hood has taken on that title. Killeen which is the largest city in Bell County happens to be the feeder city to the Army base. There have been reports of soldiers coming down with the virus and once again the numbers in Killeen are rising everyday.
So, with new guidelines opening up more places, we will see some rises in COVID-19. There’s no telling how many people have COVID-19 in this state because we never really shut down. Churches stayed open for service, while schools shut down for the rest of the school year.
My fear is seeing something like we saw in Florida this past weekend. Our state parks are known for cookouts, swimming, fishing, and loads of recreational outlets. I do not see how park rangers will be able to monitor all parks and people congregating on hundreds of acres in various places. It’s like the drinking thing, you aren’t supposed to bring beer to the parks, yet people do it all the time. Are you telling me that the rangers will look at every park goer and monitor their face and enforce the mask, six feet apart, and limited 5 person per group order the entire duration of their stay? Parks are open for hours. How will the recreational lovers eat if they are participating in a cookout? That face mask will have to come off.
It just seems like a disaster waiting to happen. It will encourage more gathering and the chance to spread something that many people might not know they have. The weather here in Texas is very unpredictable, it could be 58 today and tomorrow the temperature could reach 80 degrees. So, it wouldn’t be uncommon for people to just pass something off as being a seasonal cough or sickness caused by the weather. I would feel so much better if we were not seeing rising numbers of COVID-19.
However, there is a glimmer of light for our county. While the number of people contracting COVID-19 continues to climb, the number of people cured also continues to climb in our area. We have more than enough hospital beds due to this area being surrounded by hospitals. I wish I could say the same for some of the other areas in Texas. I grew up in a small country town with only one store, and one Post Office. That is a recurring situation in many of the small towns in Texas. Some of these towns have hospitals that might be at least 15 to 20 minutes away in other cities.
So, once again, I hope we do not see a rise in cases. However, I do not see how we will miss a surge with more options for people to gather. While the cases are not overwhelming yet, it could change if people get careless. We need to know how many people in this state currently have COVID-19. It would help people monitor their movements a little more.