The spike in Coronavirus cases in Texas is alarming. It's putting pressure on some of our bigger cities' hospitals, and a few hours ago, we received an order from Governor Greg Abbott to shut down Texas bars.

Why aren't Texans taking this as seriously as we should? Well, more of us are now. Especially with this new report:

Today Abbott also suspended elective surgeries and medical procedures in Bexar, Dallas, Harris, and Travis counties in an effort to free up hospital beds. The counties represent San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. Texas Public Radio said yesterday that San Antonio's ventilator availability dropped below 70%, and one Houston hospital's intensive care unit capacity was already at 120%.

Yesterday Texas tracked 5,551 new cases and 29 new deaths, bringing state totals to 125,921 cases and 2,249 fatalities. Harris county and the metro Houston area have nearly 25,000 cases.

If you've not been affected by anyone close to you contracting and/or showing symptoms of Covid, it may not seem like something to take very seriously. However, I assure, when someone you love is hit particularly hard with the worst symptoms and is fighting to breathe, that changes one's perspective pretty quickly. However, we all lead busy lives and one can understand, if not agree, with the tendency to shrug the urgency aside and get on with the task at hand.

What I don't understand is what I've heard from some people about how some East Texans are treating each other over this issue. For example, if you go to the store you'll notice some are wearing masks, but many are not. I confess, early on I was a non-mask wearer. When we are inundated with alarming headlines every day, it's difficult to discern what to take seriously and what to dismiss as hype. But now, I'm a mask wearing convert.

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I don't want to contribute to anyone--anyone, become infected. I may not have it. I may. You may or may not have it--testing hasn't been very widespread so it's hard to know. BUT, I do know that even carriers of Covid can be asymptomatic and still spread it to someone else whose system may be compromised. My infection, which isn't bothering me in the slightest, could potentially be life-threatening to a fellow East Texan just trying to get their weekly groceries. I can't live with that.

I've heard from friends that when they're in public wearing their masks, they've had people laugh at them, give them a dirty look. or even say mocking things to them--that they're "brainwashed." That they're "traitors to freedom." I've not had any actual comments shot my way when wearing a mask. However, I've gotten a dirty look or two. What? Why?

Y'all, wearing a mask isn't about making a political statement. This is science. This is real--outside of any talking points along the political spectrum--this. is. real. My hope is that now that even Governor Abbott is concerned as Texas halts its reopening, that more of us will understand more fully.

Please wash your hands, stay home when you can, practice social distancing, and even if you choose not to wear a mask, please be kind to those who are.

Love your fellow East Texans. And love to you, as well.

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