Judging from the way the Covid-19 virus has spread across the rest of the globe so far, it seemed inevitable the pandemic would land in Texas. Actually, it’s been here awhile, as 11 people who contracted the virus outside the U.S. have been quarantined at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base for several weeks, and are scheduled to be released next week.
But the public just learned of the first Texas case of the virus in the wild, so to speak, yesterday. And of course it had to be a Fort Bend County man. Other than stating that he is 70, has been hospitalized, and recently traveled somewhere abroad, state and county officials are saying essentially nothing, not even naming his city of residence.
When victims of the outbreak were mostly in China, then Japan, South Korea, Iran, Italy – even when they drew closer in California and Washington – I felt concerned, but removed from the situation. As if I were watching a documentary movie.
However, when a new and sometimes deadly Corona virus shows up in your home county, it tends to concentrate the mind. You find there are emergency management steps to be taken – like in hurricane season. You make preparations.
Mind you, there’s only so much you can do: Stock up on disinfectant, ibuprofen, groceries. Practice extra washing of the hands, and all your counter tops. Cough and sneeze into your elbows. Wash, rinse, repeat.
And around here that would mean avoiding the likes of the fabled Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which draws more than 2.5 million people from all over the world. Or Austin’s upcoming South By Southwest music, arts and tech festival, which expects more than 400,000 attendees. Elsewhere on Earth, that would mean not going to the Olympics in Japan which, one might think, could be like a giant petri dish of spreadable Covid-19.
You have to wonder whether the responsible thing would be to cancel all such events. I guess it depends upon whether financial and societal responsibilities intersect.
Meanwhile, we will learn to live with a pandemic, and do our best with what we have. As always, we recognize it’s a wind-blistered world we’re a-livin’ in.