Growing Variants


I am very happy to report that I finally qualify for my COVID-19 vaccines! My first (Pfizer) dose is scheduled for this Saturday, March 20 and my second dose Saturday, April 10. I am thrilled, to say the least!

But will my vaccinations be enough come April 30th, 2021? Or June 30th, 2021 when either the U.K. variant arrives in Texas and DFW (assuming it hasn’t already) or other future variants which mutate into a strand resistant to current vaccines? By the way, I have no idea WHY WordPress would not offer a button feature giving an Image with text wrap-around, so aesthetically this “block” looks utterly ridiculous!!! But hey folks, this isn’t my oversight. 🙄🤦‍♂️

Anyway, back to COVID-19 vaccinations and the stupidity that is Texas government by our Governor and his party. Prepare yourself my regular readers, I am not going to restrain my honest thoughts, opinions, or language for this post. I am tired and frustrated that a lethal virus turned world pandemic in the earliest stages whose impact could have been greatly lessened and its duration greatly shortened, was not achieved or even sought after. Most of all, thousands upon thousands of premature deaths by coronavirus, of all ages, never had to happen. Smarter prevention should have started as early as December 2019 or January 2020!

Oh, another thing. I am honestly sick and tired of blogging about this virus and the too many Americans and Texans not taking its effects and protections-against seriously. I so want to blog about other subjects, happier funnier, artful and intriguing subjects instead of this far reaching ripple-effects of a deadly virus. A virus that was politicized at the expense of ordinary families and individuals, i.e. America’s moderate, struggling or hard-hit, economically disadvantaged, middle and lower classes/demographic that make-up 85-90 percent of the U.S. population. They are the Americans I do not want marginalized, overlooked, or treated as inferior or as cannon-fodder for this virus and its evolving variants!

Maskless patrons this March at a North Dallas cafe & shop — LM Otero/AP

So I’ve been compelled to blog about it, not because it’s admirable or needed, but because it has also impacted me and my standard of life greatly! It must be discussed. This is the case I think with all Americans, or rather most ordinary, moderate Americans. In a way, how can one avoid it or pretend as if an unprecedented event and pandemic didn’t happen to yourself or to anyone else? Answer, you can’t. So perhaps for therapeutic reasons I’ve journaled about a virus that never had to be this bad. In the Spring of 2020 I had hoped I wouldn’t have to journal about it or blog about it for an entire year… and still counting, still ongoing. Tiring. Frustrating. Appalling. Saddening. Those are words partially expressing 15-months of American and Texas life in a politicized pandemic which has taken over half a million lives. Does that many dead bodies even compute!? And a large significant number of those deaths did NOT have to die early—for children and teenagers, they died way too early! How did (in 2020), and how do American political leaders live with that genocide atrocious fact and sleep at night? Are they human? Do they even have a heart?

So yes, I have blogged about this shameful travesty and a virus/pandemic that did not have to be so catastrophic and so unnecessarily protracted! If we had had intelligent, empathetic, and principled government leadership with citizens possessing the same traits, how very different these days would be. Ah, but alas… that has been a dream of another place, another time, in another Universe likely filled with an unfamiliar(?) superior species, isn’t it.

“To die, to sleep – to sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub, for in this sleep of death what dreams may come…”

william shakespeare, hamlet

But enough torture and Shakespeare. What alternative reality am I living in Professor, you stupid man! Time to wake from that silly “American dream,” right? Dreams aren’t real are they?

A RETURN TO THE AMERICAN REALITY

A serious question: will my scheduled vaccinations be enough to relatively protect me come April 30th, 2021? Or June 30th, 2021 when either the U.K. variant arrives in Texas and DFW (assuming it hasn’t already) or against other coming future variants that mutate into a strand more resistant to current vaccines? And if the SARS-CoV-2 virus is always given non-stop opportunities to spread faster and mutate throughout people, populations or political groups defiant to simple, easy health-safety measures? Those easy to do measures such as wearing a mask, social-distancing, and avoiding crowds and huge social gatherings?

In doing those simple safety measures Americans/Texans greatly reduce or stop new variants from latching on, forming, then build resistance to our initial vaccines. Will our vaccine research, development, legal-approvals, and distribution be able to ever catch up to where the latest up-to-date doses are ahead or neck-n-neck to a virus constantly adapting and resisting COVID-19 vaccines? Can Americans and Texans do what must be done to eradicate this deadly pandemic and constantly mutating virus? The biggest way the virus keeps mutating is because of defiant humans (Republicans?) not wearing masks and not social-distancing. People, that is how it survives, spreads, evolves more intelligently, and therefore NEVER goes away.

Another way more dangerous, new COVID-19 variants pop-up and survive is because too many defiant, indifferent humans refuse to avoid big gatherings or crowds, e.g. sporting events, patronizing pubs-bars, conventions, or attending family reunions without masks or staying 6-feet apart. Am I driving this home by repeating what hasn’t been done and what must be done? I hope so; let’s do it some more!

It is a no brainer what will happen if Americans/Texans behave as if the deadly pandemic is over. What follows that selfish thinking will be another sixth, seventh, or eighth spike or resurgence in COVID infections across America again. Then hospitals fill-up again near or above operating capacities just like what is happening in Manaus, Brazil. This indifference and/or defiance only perpetuates restrictions, lockdowns, and more mandates longer causing all the same economic ripple-effects all of us in the U.S. have experienced the last 14-15 months. Please wake tha F*CK UP people and use your scientific brains!

Yet, nine days ago our Texas Governor blatantly ignored warnings from health officials, epidemiologists, virologists, and a whole host of Texas nursing groups urging him to not do it, unanimously stating it is way too early!

My readers/followers, I know I sound like a broken record here and in many of my previous blog-posts. I’m not sure I should apologize though. It seems however, at least for those who either don’t listen, don’t care, or don’t understand virology, epidemiology, and how infectious diseases/viruses function, survive, and adapt… I must keep beating this drum. When a society/nation does not learn from their mistakes, and learn them permanently, then it is cliché, but history repeats itself. What happened for 12-months in 2020 just continues, it happens again and again until one of two things happen: either no more humans, or all humans out-smart COVID-19 and all its following variants! Duh, right? No, not so fast Professor.

Does over 47,000 dead Texans (as of March 17, 2021) from coronavirus not mean anything to you Governor Abbott? There are now two more infectious, more lethal variants on the way. They may already be in Texas, or will be in large spiking numbers by the end of March if most Texans do not wear masks or social-distance until it’s safe to do so. A premature reopening will defeat the previous gains made this year against COVID while also gaining ground with increasingly more Texans and Americans getting vaccinated. In turn, that will better contain possible newer variants from forming. Why jeopardize 14-months of pain, toil, and exhausting efforts made to getting control over this pandemic spreading? Why play Russian Roulette and chance killing thousands of more lives uselessly and prematurely with this idiotic decision? Wait only 3-5 more weeks, two months, or whatever it takes to halt the recurring of newer and newer variants!

Alright, enough imploring, enough ranting, enough reminding. Time for the science.

From the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, Feb. 2, 2021. Emphasis mine:

Scientists in the United Kingdom yesterday reported that a small number of B117 variants have developed the E484K mutation thought to help SARS-CoV-2 partly evade immunity, and today another UK group said their lab experiments suggest the mutation added to B117 may dampen the impact of vaccination after one dose.

[…]

Overall, the vaccine is likely to be effective against B117, though its efficacy is somewhat affected. Though they found wide variation among individuals, on average B117 required a twofold increase in serum antibody concentration to neutralize the virus. However, when researchers added the E484K mutation, substantially higher antibody levels—on average, a 10-fold increase—were needed for neutralization.

Lisa Schnirring, New variant COVID findings fuel more worries about vaccine resistance, CIDRAP News, accessed March 18, 2021.

I highly recommend you read this article and stay tuned in to the ongoing results from vaccine boosters. CIDRAP was founded in 2001 with the University of Minnesota’s Office of Research and Public Health.

As is the case with anything brand new, a break-through discovery or invention, they have to be taken in those first days with a grain of salt and without knee-jerk reactions, right? Don’t jump to premature conclusions, right? Medical research is a long, sometimes slow process. In this field doctors and scientists must get it right. So here’s a “balancing” article from the Poynter Institute regarding the new COVID variants and the breaking news surrounding them relative to vaccinations, also a good quick read: “New COVID-19 variants could be more resistant to vaccines, but let’s not jump to conclusions.

As a side note, the Poynter Institute is the parent company of PolitiFact.com, a fact-checking website I utilize often.

MY CONCLUSION

Get ready for my long sentence; take a deep inhale folks. If Americans, including our federal leadership and Congress/Senate (in Jan. 2020), and a specific political, socioeconomic demographic in this country (including Texas)… had listened closely, heeded the vehement recommendations from public health and medical advisors regarding what HAD to be done, nationwide, for public safety, and how this COVID-19 pandemic could and would devastate our economy IF we did not follow their protective guidelines… then we WOULD NOT BE in these shitty circumstances, the multiple recurring spikes or resurgences, and dealing with unprecedented unemployment and crippled economy for over a full year! And need I mention the over 552,400 (and still counting!) premature deaths by COVID? Actually yes, I probably do. 🤦‍♂️

And THEY’RE OUT!!! Texans cannot be held back or told what to do.

The minute Gov. Abbott announced his total lifting of COVID-19 mandates and restrictions, many Texans could not wait to dash out of their homes or jobs as if nude. What I saw when I had to go out in public here in North Dallas and nearby affluent areas of Dallas, Plano, and Addison, Texas, almost no one had masks and frequently I witnessed lots of close-up gatherings and groups as if we had suddenly returned to normal. I couldn’t help but imagine those starting-gates at the Kentucky Derby or Belmont Stakes when the bell rings, the gate-doors slam open, and the race horses leap out of their tiny stall. I mean, here you’d think we were all in prison cells for years and near bonkers to be let go, celebrating liberally. Whoops, I better not use that word! Might offend thousands of Conservatives. 🙄

And yet we are still dealing with a deadly virus that could’ve and should’ve been much better managed, controlled, and near eradicated. But here we are in mid-March 2021! Are you effin kidding me people!? What an embarrassing track record we Americans and Texans have and continue to show the world. We are a bunch of self-centered, self-absorbed Prima Donnas who cry “freedom and liberty” for ourselves, ME, ME, ME when asked for the sake of public health and safety to—like our need for speed limits on highways, roads, and in school zones—just wear a simple, easy mask out in public, to social-distance, to avoid huge crowds indoors/outdoors close-up, and get vaccinated ASAP when available and qualified.

America’s Greatest Generation (or G.I. generation) would unanimously reply “Piece of cake!” Well yeah! Think long and hard about what all they had to handle, go through, and successfully came out victorious, for the most part. What a shame 2019-2021 America. What a shame Texas we have forgotten or lost those principles, endurance, and helping community caring for each other!

For all the rest of you level-headed, scientifically-based and educated readers: CONTINUE BEING SAFE, COURTEOUS TO OTHERS, and PATIENT till the very end of this pandemic. An “ending” when say there are only 9 or 10 Americans with COVID-19, any variant. And also an “end” when the qualified experts tell us it is safe to say, COVID-19 has been eradicated enough. You may return to normal, if you’ve been fully vaccinated.” Will that day arrive? I do hope so. I hope that day actually comes very, very soon despite all this stupidity, indifference, and defiance that surrounds me. I also hope this ME ONLY behavior and mentality changes and does so permanently. Agreed?

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT & FOR YOUR FUNNY-BONE


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Not 1st is Unacceptable!


We learn from history that we learn nothing from history.

George Bernard shaw

I posted that quote from Shaw in my May 27, 2020 blog-post It’s Over, We’re Free! That was less than a year ago and following no less than two (2) deadly, major resurges of COVID-19 infections and widespread deaths across the U.S. and my bullheaded, reckless home state of Texas. Easter and Memorial Day weekends of defiant, indifferent crowds gathering in large numbers, not following required public safety measures were blamed for those two major spikes.

No less than two months later (post-July 4th holiday) the same results; another third spike for 2020 also due to defiant human behavior. Three (3) more major resurges would follow that—Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas holidays—with even MORE infections and needless deaths. The cause? Duh, impatient, defiant crowds recklessly abandoning required public-health safety measures while falsely believing or being told by politicians, not expert virologists or epidemiologists, that earlier declines in COVID19 infections meant freedom, that is was all over, or at least under control by the White House and Administration. But it wasn’t. Not even close.

Fast forward to March 2, 2021 in Austin, Texas and Governor Greg Abbott’s press announcement:

Does it feel like we are listening to, watching a broken record stuck in a vicious, annoying cycle/recycle? If not, it damn sure should Texas because this is sheer stupidity and a deluded misconception of authoritative medical science and infectious diseases backed with a proven, known track-record just ONE YEAR AGO Gov. Abbott! This 100% relaxing and prematurely implying victory or under control is idiocy and indeed Neanderthal thinking as President Biden appropriately responded.

LEADING THE NATION FROM THE BASEMENT

Why must, why do Texans insist they are the #1 leader in the nation in many/most all social and economic standards and measurements over the last three decades or more? One answer? Because our last three governors and our majority party of Congress have led the nation in MANY categories, from the basement that is, and they never want to discuss that reality publicly! Much less admit it to Texans or Americans. Did you notice in the video-clip above the very proud, verbose arrogance of Gov. Abbott implying that Texas will be one of the first states of the Union to lift/remove all COVID-19 mandates upon businesses and the public?

That is the recurring mentality and poorly advised, poorly educated, medically inept leadership and state Congress regarding infectious diseases—and many other socioeconomic segments—that I am addressing here and deeply disturbed by repeated empty Republican boasting in Texas. For my global and out-of-state readers, that’s not just a 2020–2021 occurrence. The deluded Texas perceptions from one specific demographic here has been perpetual since 1995, at least in areas of government and corporate authorities.

In an April 2012 examination of the Texas Economic Model by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, reported that despite Texas leading the nation in “expanding, growing employment,” comparatively low housing costs, and abundant oil and gas resources leading to very low prices for consumers, the state’s economic model is far from exemplary:

[T]he fact that so many Texans have failed to benefit from them – with poverty, low-wage jobs and lack of health insurance all above the national average – makes Texas a less-than-desirable model to follow.

McNichol and Johnson,The Texas Economic Model: Hard for Other States to Follow and Not All It Seems,” (2012)- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, accessed March 3, 2021.

Not All It Seems, as the report-title states, is spot-on. Although Texas loves to boast that it is The Lone Star State, or “Don’t Mess with Texas,” or “Don’t Tread On Me, Remember the Alamo,” and “Come and Take It“—a very popular Pro-gun slogan—the state actually bottoms out on many public well-being, socioeconomic measurements. Case and point, several metrics for Texas since 2018 to 2020 show my state ranks comparatively in the bottom half of almost every single quality-of-life category for the bulk of its citizens. A closer look and reminder follows Texas.

TEXAS IS SUBPAR AT BEST

Out of all 50 states in the Union, where does (and has) Texas rank? According to USNews Best States in 2019, in the following eight socioeconomic standards the Lone Star State is…

  • #37 in Health Care based on Access, Quality of Care, and the Public’s Health, a subcategory evaluated in six metrics: mortality rate, suicide rate, smoking rate, mental health, infant mortality rate and adult obesity rate.
  • #34 in Education barely 37% of Texans are college grads, a #32 ranking, and a #33 ranking of Pre-K to 12 educations, i.e. enrollment in pre-K, standardized test scores, and the public high school graduation rate.
  • #15 in Economic condition measures the state’s economic stability and potential. Oil and Natural Gas are Texas’ major driving resources.
  • #33 in Infrastructure measures the state’s renewable energy, transportation, and internet access.
  • #39 in Success Opportunities examines if states are granting citizens the tools needed to succeed in three subcategories of housing affordability, economic opportunities upward, and social-occupational, political, and legal equality.
  • #12 in Fiscal Stability measures the state’s short- and long-term fiscal health.
  • #33 in Crime & Corrections a state’s public safety and condition of prison/corrections as well as its justice systems.
  • #40 in Natural Environment/Amenities a state’s air and water quality, rate of pollution, protections and violations, and enforcement of those subcategories.

These eight 2019 metrics ranked Texas overall at #38 of 50 states according to the report. Subpar at best Texas and that’s being generous. To see the ranking methodology used for these metrics click here.

In a 2020 study from a panel of university and professional experts on WalletHub published the Best and Worst States to Raise A Family utilizing 52 key indicators for families. There are 1 or 2 crossovers, but Texas ranks #28 in four metrics valued for a quality family-life. Also and again, in the bottom half of the nation overall. The breakdown:

  • 5th in Family Fun with kids under 18, number of recreational attractions, Rec & Fitness Centers, Parks & Playgrounds, and other factors.
  • 37th in Health & Safety 17 different sub-metrics such as COVID-19 weekly rates, quality of public hospitals, number of Climate disasters in past decades, and Share of Children Aged 6 to 17 Who Go to Safe Schools, and more factors.
  • 33rd in Education & Child-care measures quality of public schools, graduation rates, daycare quality, and child-care costs, and more factors.
  • 41st in Affordability/Cost-of-Living measures cost of housing, median financial health of families, problems paying medical bills, and Median Annual Family Income and Health coverage, and more factors.
  • 38th in Socio-economics measures Separation & Divorce rates, median duration of marriages, wealth gaps, food stamps distributed, and Job Security and Satisfaction, and more factors.

Since 1995 (or longer) none of the above two ranking systems and their metrics have significantly changed for the better. In stark contrast, however, what has changed enormously for Texas is indeed its fiscal stability/growth over the last 35-years due to: 1) homebased, mega corporate revenues/profits, 2) sharp rises in K–12 charter and public school enrollments, and 3) the state’s famed Rainy Day Fund (graph above) with a 2020 fiscal balance of $10.7 billion. The fund has never seen a traumatic downward fiscal turn since the 2000’s. They were short, minor turns. Yet, in the above two statistical rankings and tables for quality-of-life measurements it is irrefutable that Texas has never been better than subpar to inadequate for over 25-years. This is an odd dichotomy, a strange ongoing 10+ year enigma given the state’s outstanding fiscal stability.

LEADING THE WAY IN HIGHEST TEEN BIRTH RATES

In another metric/category regarding families and parenting, the CDC 2019 Teen Birth Rate ranking for females aged 15-19: Texas is #42 joining all 11 Southern states formerly of the Confederacy, and all eleven being among the highest Teen Birth-rates in the entire nation for decades. In 2018 and 2017 Texas ranked 44th both years. Going further back to 2005 Texas was ranked the worst/highest at 50th, dead last. All 11 former Confederate states are and have been the nation’s worst/highest Teen birth-rates going back to 2005.

WHY NOT LEAD THE NATION IN REPEATED COVID-19 SPIKES IN 2021

Now with the total lifting of all COVID-19 safety mandates by Gov. Greg Abbott and his Republican Administration and Congress, Texas is all but guaranteed to soon lead the U.S. once again in another 8th or 9th deadly spike of coronavirus infections and widespread hospitalizations by late March 2021. Mark my words. The stupidity here in GOP leadership and supporting it knows no bounds. Not in infectious diseases, public health and safety, higher education, or sheer psychiatric delusions of fact-based science.

Big Tex at the 2020 State Fair of Texas

Since Jan. 21, 2020, when the very first case of COVID-19 was reported inside the U.S., to date Texas has never been in the top 50 states with the fewest cases and deaths. Never. Always in the bottom-half or lower. But no worries, it is all over. We are free to return to normal Texas! Gov. Abbott and his cabinet say so…

…well, until that likely spike, resurge in Texas late this month or early April sends these defiant, clueless Texans back into quarantines, lock-downs, and public mandates… for a 7th or 8th time in just 15-months. Yes, Texas just has to be the nation’s leader in many metrics, including ignorance, self-centered defiance, and medically-scientifically uneducated. It seems for the last 25+ years we must be in the nation’s rear-end. Not being first—way up in the smelly hindquarters below—is clearly unacceptable for us Texas folk! 🤦‍♂️😖


March 5, 2021 Addition — Over the last several months I have very much appreciated various TV news outlets doing segments of ‘Remembering Those Lost to COVID-19’ segments to remind many of us insensitive, divisive, and defiant Americans how to be human, how to empathize with regular Americans dying way too prematurely, and NOT forget those who died needlessly. Here is one such segment below. There are over 520,000 stories just like these five dead people. The story of James Wong, a 45-year old American of Chinese descent and Zurina Rose, a 42-year old American of Filipino descent, resonated with me deeply because of their health-care and mental-health connections. Zurina’s story is particularly crushing. I too began to choak-up like Judy Woodruff does at the end. Please watch all of the 3-minute clip from PBS NewsHour:


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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M

May 22-25, 2020

Happy remembrance of Memorial Day Weekend everybody on this 4th of July, 2020! Simply check the infection rates and hospitalization rates for coronavirus to see what took place then and as a result is happening now.

As all the fireworks go off Friday night, July 3rd and Saturday night July 4th, let’s remember not just war veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country, but also every single one of those ordinary citizens who, over the past Memorial Day weekend defiantly ignored warnings of the seriousness and lethality of the COVID-19 pandemic since February 2020. They either lie in a hospital bed now, maybe in ICU barely clinging to life, or are already deceased from the deadly virus and are now six-feet under.

FOX4 News reported yesterday: Dallas County reports more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases, setting single-day record.

dfw-county-map

This is just one county out of five major populated counties encompassing the DFW Metroplex. Dallas County has bounced back and forth with Harris County (Houston) as the #1 most infected counties in all of Texas the last three months.

Lady Liberty fireworksOn this day of America’s Independence from Great Britain in 1776, let’s step back about 8-weeks to May 10th with A Salute Before the Storm and May 12th with Color-coded Alerts? followed by May 27th with It’s Over, We’re Free! and the images in that blog-post where Americans, especially Texans in my home state, arrogantly defied safety orders and the invisible, lethal virus just to get out on beaches among hundreds of thousands of other celebrating rebels for loads of self-pleasure. As a result, Texans today are on world wide news almost daily because of our stupidity and lack of any intelligent leadership both on the federal level and state level to heed warnings and strong advice by real epidemiological and virological experts, who almost cried publicly to say ‘do not reopen businesses so prematurely.’

TX COVID-19 Cases

TX COVID-19 Hospitilizations

With all the numbers spiking upward once again, what do the majority of Texans plan to do this July 4th holiday? Here’s an abbreviated list* of DFW municipalities and their plans for the weekend in the wake of Gov. Gregg Abbott’s latest About-face orders and admonishments to “Stay Home”:

FRIDAY, JULY 3RD

Allen, TX:

Spirit in the Sky Fireworks
9:30 p.m.
Best viewing area: Within one mile of the corner of W. Exchange Parkway and N. Watters Road
Encouraged to watch from your home or car.

Arlington, TX:

Independence Day Fireworks
9:30 p.m.
Globe Life Field (Parking open to public in Lot B, C, F, M and N)
Encouraged to remain at and around their vehicles, maintain social distancing, wear a mask when appropriate and bring their own food and drinks.

Rockwall, TX:

Concert by the Lake
7:30 p.m.
The city is asking people to consider wearing masks and to practice social distancing. But, that’s not a requirement for the concert or fireworks shows over the weekend. Fireworks shows will happen on both Friday and Saturday night in Rockwall, as well as a downtown Rockwall parade Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m.

SATURDAY, JULY 4TH

Frisco, TX:

Frisco Freedom Fest
9:30 p.m.
FC Dallas parking lots available to the public for viewing. Fireworks will also be streamed live on FriscoTexas.gov. All patrons are encouraged to stay in their vehicles.

Grapevine:

38th Annual July 4th Fireworks Extravaganza
9:30 p.m.
Lake Grapevine (Parking with a fee offered at Oak Grove Park, Rockledge Park and other locations)
No walk-in traffic allowed. Boat traffic only allowed at the Dove Loop Ramp and at the softball fields. Face masks required.

The Colony:

Liberty by the Lake Fireworks
9:30 p.m.
The vicinity of The Colony Five Star Complex, 4100 Blair Oaks
Encouraged to watch from “the safety and comfort of your car” or with social-distancing.

Trophy Club:

Fourth of July Fireworks Show
9:30 p.m.
Independence Park
Nearby parking map available here. Health department advised those who attend fireworks to stay in their vehicle or wear masks.

* – Source: https://www.nbcdfw.com/entertainment/the-scene/4th-of-july-events-across-north-texas-see-whats-cancelled-and-whats-not/2399073/

Stacy Fernández is one of Texas’ most prolific journalist on breaking Texas news having spent years first with NPR, The Dallas Morning News, and at News21 as a reporter, and she correctly writes in The Texas Tribune Thursday, July 3rd:

Health officials want people to choose Harper’s route, finding safe alternatives to yearly traditions. But with Texas’ recent history of temper tantrums by a small but vocal slice of the populace who don’t want to wear masks and insist bars and hair salons reopen, that seems unlikely.

“We have learned in the past these gatherings that took place during the Memorial Day holiday did lead to the spread of COVID-19,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a Friday interview with KSAT. “If people gather on 4th of July the same way they did in Memorial Day it is going to lead to a massive increase in the number of people testing positive, the number of people who will be hospitalized, and it could lead once again to an increase in the number of people who lose their lives.”

[…]

“It’s shocking to me that so many people aren’t taking this seriously. I’m curious to see how the fourth is going to be as far as what changes and numbers,” Harper said. If Texans socialize this weekend as they did over the Memorial Day weekend “it could be catastrophic,” said Phil Huang, a doctor and director of Dallas County Health and Human Services, in a press conference Thursday.

[…]

Abbott also amended his executive order and lowered outdoor event limits from 100 to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings, like those typically held for the Fourth of July, must be approved by local officials if they more than 10 people are expected. The few exceptions include religious services, outdoor sports and summer camps. Outdoor events of 10 or less do not need prior approval.

That same day, in response to Abbott’s order, Collin County Judge Chris Hill approved all gatherings of more than 10 people.

Added July 5, 2020 — The Dallas Morning News:  Despite Health Warnings and Governor’s Plea, Fourth of July Revelers Flock to Dallas-area Lakeshores.

Since this past February and March—I really wish then I had been wrong—I have tried to politely explain to as many Texans as I could that if all of us do not go the full long distance, no matter how long it takes, with all known effective measures of stemming this lethal virus from spreading out of control, over-running our hospitals, those consequences are guaranteed to be worse. If we don’t do this together, then we are looking at September or October for flattening the curve (again) and at the earliest. An even more catastrophic impact will take place on all sectors of the economy lasting for many more months after. Since last December and January the true experts have been proven right at every surge and resurge of the coronavirus. We better listen and obey this time around.

Texans, instead of celebrating your own personal independence from tyranny, inequality, oppression of your civil rights, and obligations to those less fortunate than yourself, why not celebrate the HOPE of independence from this deadly virus taking your life, your child’s life or that of your immediate family members, or a dear cherished close friend. I say that’s worth celebrating, alone, or with one or two others who tested negative for COVID-19.

Added July 6, 2020:  FC Dallas out of MLS is Back Tournament amid coronavirus cases — this is the result of North Texans defying Governor’s orders for COVID-19 protection and determent for all North Texans’ safety, and the exact same thing can and will happen to their beloved Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers season-openers if they refuse to take the deadly virus serious!

————

Live Well — Stay Home — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Color-coded Alerts?

Yesterday Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins announced a new mechanism for measuring the spread of coronavirus in our 909 mi² county and thus a recommendation-only for the public movement or outings by residents of Dallas County.

As of yesterday, May 11, 2020, new infection cases of COVID-19 in Dallas County reached 253. For at least the last 10-12 days the county has seen new cases hit about 250 per day. Jenkins was reluctant to say with certainty that we have finally plateaued with new cases, but he was willing to speculate that we might be getting there soon. Judge Jenkins did remind Dallas County, however, that we are still in the Red-phase of highest concern and precautions. Let me restate and emphasize that again:  We are still squarely inside the Red-phase of public health and safety! Red is the recommendation to stay home unless your’re performing essential (critical) activities.

What exactly are those “essential” (critical) activities? Fortunately, he and Dallas County health experts spelled them out precisely here in this public document! Below is the top of page 3, but I hope you can take a quick look at the entire table.

Annotation 2020-05-12 012524

The full Table begins on pages 3 — 6 and list exactly what the acceptable activities should be and by default exactly what is NOT acceptable or recommended.

Personally, I am undecided as to the real projected effectiveness of this measuring system then recommendation-only guideline for an already restless, rebellious, very self-consumed (minority?) population in our county, the DFW metroplex, and many specific 2016 demographic areas across Texas. Therefore, I wanted to ask my Followers and visitors your thoughts. Share below your opinions about this new Color-coded Alert system. Do you think it can be effective for 2.7-million residents of Dallas County? If so, why? If not, why not? Your feedback is valued and appreciated. Meanwhile…

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Live Healthier — Love More — Laugh with Family — Learn More Science!

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A Salute Before the Storm

This past week our U.S. Navy Blue Angels, an aerobatic squadron performing shows across the U.S. and Canada, flew over north Texas in a fanfare salute to all our front-line healthcare, EMT, police, and fire workers during this unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. The sound, speed, and visual was indeed arousing, uplifting, and a grateful demonstration for our brave workers who have no choice but to put themselves in danger and/or at risk for infection, possibly worse. However, for Texas and the DFW metroplex was this big show a “salute” per se, or a Good Luck Hope You Survive fly-by for what’s about to hit us with a vengeance?

BA over Dallas

I have published a few past blog-posts regarding Conservative Texans and their governmental representatives being either relaxed or intentionally defiant about the seriousness and lethality of the COVID-19 pandemic. I have also posted about some Conservative business-owners protesting and public officials (e.g. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick) acting and speaking downright ludicrous about reopening businesses way too early. I still hold to my original time-frame of late-July or August of returning to business-as-usual. That depends on how well Americans and Texans take serious and endure quarantines and Stay-at-Home orders until the virus is safely under control.

I honestly do not see this happening, particularly when I am forced to must go out in public for essential tasks and items. I have gotten my routine of exiting outside down to once a week, rarely twice. No more.

During the month of March Texans in DFW were doing quite well at staying home, not going to work and working from home, and not flooding public parks and blatantly ignoring social-distancing as reported for days and weeks. The change was encouraging! It seemed we had a decent chance of slowing and kicking wide-spread infections.

This short video shows the first weekend after local Shelter-in-Place recommendations were announced. This is from Well Creative Productions, Dallas, TX – Drone Videography – Cash Sirois:

But that was late-March folks, the first Friday night after Shelter-at-Home orders. After only 6-weeks this footage is no longer representative of today, not even close. Dallas and the state of Texas is seeing an increase in public protests that defy social-distancing and public health and safety. Yesterday afternoon Dallas saw yet another defiant protest of health and safety-for-all in a rally downtown called Set Texas Free. Here is what one of the rally organizers actually said:

“What we, as a people, saw is there are less people dying of COVID-19 than are unemployed.” he [Kevin Whitt] said. “We are losing our economy. There is so many people in Texas that are still unemployed,.”

Sadly, Kevin Whitt doesn’t have a clue about COVID-19’s methods of incapacitation and/or death. The actual numbers of infections and deaths by the virus have at least a 2-week or more lag. Furthermore, if clinics, test sites, and hospitals get overwhelmed by exponential numbers of infections, even serious life-threatening infections, then the death toll will quickly catch-up and surpass in a blink those who are unemployed! What sort of socioeconomic devastation will a 3-5 week hospitalization (perhaps in ICU?) have on those individuals and/or families? For the uninsured, which typically end up being severe cases and longer stays, the cost for the patient and the hospital is near astronomical: upwards of $74,000 per patient. These estimations provided by FAIR Health, Inc. For the insured, though noticeably less, it is still an enormous bill at discharge, about $38,755 or more… assuming the patient lives. Now, try to imagine what those costs would be for a nation of 1.35-million people infected and still rising! And do not imagine those dollar-amounts in just the next few weeks. Imagine them and multiply them for the next 3-6 months for a more accurate estimation!

Then there is the national celebrity Shelley Luther, owner of Salon Á la Mode in north Dallas, and her Republican circus-rally-for-profit. Following is The Texas Tribune’s must read article:

Just last week, Gov. Greg Abbott unfurled the first phase of his plan to reopen the Texas economy. He would allow limited openings of stores, restaurants and movie theaters, but he wanted to go slowly enough to make sure he wasn’t letting the pandemic run loose. Some health experts were nervous, while others were cautiously optimistic. Abbott said he would wait a couple of weeks to reconsider ending other restrictions.

[…]

Others have been pushing for a return to pre-pandemic Texas. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick unveiled a 113-page report from what he called his “Texans back to work task force.” One of the stated goals was to recommend ways to “safely and effectively reopen and restore our Texas economy to 100% in the not too distant future.”

[…]

Republican state Reps. Briscoe Cain of Deer Park and Steve Toth of The Woodlands crossed the barricades this week to get illegal haircuts in defiance of the governor. Cain could have been prepping for a court appearance: He’s one of Luther’s lawyers.

That publicity stunt went unpunished.
The Texas Tribune by Ross Ramsey; accessed May 10, 2020

On her GoFundMe site Luther has profited $500,085 as of May 10th. Senator Ted Cruz (R) could not resist jumping on her money bandwagon either.

defiant rebel shelley luther

Local semi-retired sports anchor Dale Hansen with his own show Unplugged had this response to Luther and any other Texans defying legal public health and safety orders and laws during this time. Click here. I promise my intelligent readers and followers it is a must watch video-commentary. I’ve had past disagreements with Dale’s opinions and commentary, however, on this day on this topic about this rebel Prima Donna… I completely agree with him! Sadly, Shelley Luther is not the only whacko-rebel…

May 12, 2020 addendum:
Dallas Morning News headline — Dallas law firm fires employee after ‘threatening’ post about his gun, COVID-19 mask requirements.

K Bain Psychosis

Bain’s psychotic message on Facebook

The firm’s chief marketing officer, Kelby Luther, confirmed Monday that the terminated employee is Kevin Bain, who had worked as a document services manager based in Dallas.

[…]

[Kelby] Luther said the firm’s statement refers to a widely shared Facebook post in which Bain referred to the Whole Foods grocery store on Lomo Alto Drive in Highland Park, saying that any business that insists he wear a mask “will get told to kiss my Corona ass and will lose my business forever.” Bain went on to say “It’s time to stop this [expletive],” the post continued. “Do I have to show the lame security guard outside of a ghetto store my CV19 test results? I will show him my Glock 21 shooting range results.”

Yet the scientific and medical reality is this: Infectious disease experts fear coronavirus will spread as more Texas businesses reopen. This is what an overwhelming amount of nationwide medical, scientific, and epidemiologists warn and The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports:

Epidemiologists said they are encouraged Gov. Greg Abbott is assessing data and consulting experts to inform a gradual reopening of Texas’ economy. But they cautioned that for an incremental approach to be effective, sufficient time is needed between each phase to assess its effects on the spread of the virus.

Abbott’s announcement Tuesday that barbershops and hair, nail, tanning and cosmetology salons may reopen provided they follow a strict set of rules came four days after the first phase of businesses, including malls and restaurants, were permitted to begin operating in-person at a limited capacity.

[Shockingly] his decision came sooner than anticipated, as he had previously pointed to May 18 as a possible date for a second phase of reopenings.

Meanwhile, new infection cases in my county and in the DFW metroplex continue to climb in alarming numbers day after day after day, with no sign of slowing. With this fact let’s definitely cheer-on our hyped-up shows by U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Presidential pep-rallies of false information, watching all the non-stop commercials by mega-corporations bombarding us with messages of hope and healing with their corporate logos and self-promotion. And yes, we SHOULD applaud and congratulate our front-line healthcare workers daily for everything they are risking, doing and will risk and do in the coming 6-10 weeks or more! Because in all likelihood they are going to feel the storm hitting their hospital beds, clinics, testing sites, and admissions. They will be overwhelmed because a few of us want to deny what is happening and will happen if we keep ignoring medical and scientific expert’s warnings. For those greedy few—the safety of public health and work-place safety for everyone—miraculously does not apply for them. The minority in a specific demographic of the population are somehow immune from COVID-19 and necessary legal orders of full and/or limited quarantines. But then if none of them are enforced, then what’s the point in any of this? Disturbing isn’t it?

Our Greatest Generation endured over 4-years of unprecedented sacrifice and national unity to get through World War II. This generation, my generation and those younger cannot even last two months! What a legacy. 😔

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May 10, 2020 extension — from The Atlantic:
There’s One Big Reason the U.S. Economy Can’t Reopen — The country faces the same problem today that it did two months ago: There are not enough tests to contain the virus. Written by Robinson Meyer, May 8, 2020.

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Live Healthier — Love Each Other — Laugh Often — Learn Science!

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