This new virus is called severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, or Sars-CoV-2. The disease it causes is called Covid-19. Source: Wall Street Journal. This is a serious disease – “a potential pandemic.” They think it originated in a (animal) market in Wuhan, China, on December 1, 2019. As of March 3, 2020, the WHO reports that there are 92,315 confirmed cases – 3,131 deaths; 60 cases in the US and 6 deaths.
The WHO and the CDC are monitoring the disease very closely, and they are taking measures to minimize the spread of the disease – no thanks to President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, his appointed “White House coronavirus response coordinator.” Source: Politico.com
Countries like China (Wuhan specifically) have been shut down; affecting the global economy. Hong Kong, Italy, Spain, South Korean, Japan, and Iran have also been hit hard. There’s talk of a global recession if this goes on for too much longer. (President Trump says it will be over by April, because of the warmer weather.)
A big health concern is the massing of people: any place or event where people gather is considered dangerous. The Summer Olympics, scheduled to open in Tokyo, Japan, on July 24, are in danger of being cancelled – or at best delayed for months. “March Madness” basketball tournaments might be played without fans. The Major League Baseball Opening Day is scheduled for March 26; they’re monitoring the situation.
Last week the WHO declared COVID-19 is a pandemic. Things are getting worse in the United States. Tomorrow, we’re starting to work-from-home and shelter-in-place for at least 1 week and possibly up to 8 weeks. It is already affecting the US economy, and we are looking at a global recession. Mnuchin dropped the “we could reach 20% unemployment” bomb, and the Fed cut rates to 0.0%. Smaller restaurants and retail shops in my town – and every city and town – are closing; health departments are mandating bars & restaurants close dining rooms. Some restaurants are adjusting – drive through, curbside, home delivery, etc.
Many States have postponed their Primaries until Summer. The 2020 Summer Olympics has been postponed until July 2021.
We are still stay-at-home/work-from-home, but there are signs that we will begin to “restart the economy” in phases in May.
Countries around the world are working to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus pandemic. Flattening the curve involves reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases from one day to the next.Source: Johns Hopkins University.
Beginning in May, the President and the states’ governors were looking for ways to jump-start the economy – with coronavirus cases still increasing – and risking more American lives.
President Donald Trump fixed his course on reopening the nation for business, acknowledging that the move would cause more illness and death from the pandemic but insisting it’s a cost he’s willing to pay to get the economy back on track.Source: Bloomberg.com
On April 27, 2020, Governor Greg Abbott issued additional Executive Orders (GA-18) to continue the process of reopening the state of Texas: easing restrictions on onsite dining in restaurants (still no bars) , retail shops, movie theaters, malls, museums and libraries, and one-man shops.
Texas A&M President Michael Young basically told everyone to continue to work-from-home until until further notice (probably through May, maybe through June), but he – and Chancellor Sharp – want to have campus open for the Fall 2020 semester; all summer classes/activities will be online.
On May 18, 2020, Governor Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-23) to expand reopening the state of Texas: easing restrictions on onsite dining in restaurants (50% capacity), bars (25%), tattoo parlors, child-care, gyms (25%). At the end of May more restrictions will be lifted.
Cases have been “spiking” in Arizona, Texas, and Florida, after these states began opening up in June. On Thursday (July 2) Governor Greg Abbott issued an Executive Order (GA-29) requiring all Texans to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth in public spaces in counties with 20 or more positive COVID-19 cases, with few exceptions.
Texas has once again broken its single-day record for new coronavirus cases. The state reported 10,028 new cases Tuesday [July 7] as officials warned that hospitals are reaching capacity. … The state also set a new record for single-day deaths, with 60.Source: CBS News
Meanwhile, we are still working from home (week 17), summer classes are 100% online, and we’re in limbo looking at current case numbers and trying to plan for the future. The current plan is to have 50% online and 50% face-to-face classes in the fall with classes starting earlier on August 19, and ending November 24. Class days will be longer too, 8 am – 8:35 pm, and conference rooms will be used as classrooms.
Students are back in College Station – “locust” buying everything in stores and queuing up in restaurants – without masks – before the start of the semester on Wednesday (8/19). This is not going to go well.
In Brazos County there was a spike after school started almost a month ago, but the number of active cases has come down to 672 as of yesterday. Despite the numbers, Texas A&M plans to host Vanderbilt this weekend for the first of 10 football games this season. The SEC scheduled conference-only games for each of its 9 universities.