Things are holding steady here. We reached a couple major milestones in number over the last few weeks. First, we passed the one-million mark of folks getting their first vaccine dose – 1,034,482 at the end of week 63. That represents 62.3% of the eligible population. A full 48.4% of eligible population, 804,762 folks, are fully vaccinated. Yay! Second, our hospitalizations have been continuously dropping and we’re ending Week 63 with only 135 folks hospitalized. The last time it was this low was in early June last year, as we started building up toward the big spike in July. Woohoo! Weekly numbers:
- Week 61 (5/7 – 5/13): 220,517 cases, 3,404 deaths, 202 seven-day average, 1.7% positivity rate
- Week 62 (5/14 – 5/20): 221,603 cases, 3,439 deaths, 138 (!!!) seven-day average, 2.3% positivity rate
- Week 63 (5/21 – 5/27): 222,760 cases, 3,457 deaths, 126 seven-day average, 1.3% positivity rate
The 2020-2021 school year ends today, so in addition to compiling the numbers from the last three weeks, I’ve compiled all the numbers for the entire year at our local high school. Keep in mind that this is one school in a city with over 500 public schools serving over 333k students. Even with a giant chunk of our school’s student body staying home full time this year, we had a lot of cases. Over the last three weeks, there were a further 10 student cases, and no staff cases reported. That makes a total of 160 student cases, including one death, and 30 staff cases reported to us between late September (~4 weeks after school started since no one was in person at that point and no reports were going out) and yesterday evening. I’ll update those numbers if we get another report tonight, on our last day of school.
I feel like the title of this section could be “horrible things the TX governor did over the last three weeks.” Gov Abbott is a first class a-hole. Seriously. Since my last post, he:
- made the claim that TX’s improvement in the state’s covid numbers is not because we’ve been rapidly vaccinating as many people as possible, but because he opened up all the businesses and removed the mask mandate. Yes, he’s taking credit for what the vaccine is doing. Seriously.
- decided to opt TX out of federal pandemic unemployment benefits, despite them costing the state nothing. So all those people out of work due to covid can no longer get federal unemployment benefits because Gov Abbott says they’re just too lazy and need to start working. Literally, he said that.
- banned masked mandates in public schools and any government-led facilities (like courtrooms, city fitness centers, libraries, etc). If any school or local government requires masks, they’ll be fined $1000 per incident. This is the same man who, last year, said that no one could be fined for not wearing a mask, because that was none of the government’s business. So…hypocrisy much?
So yes, Gov A-Hole is clearly pumping up for his reelection campaign in 2022, trying to energize his nutty conspiracy theory Trumper base now that it’s semi-safe to do so. He got a lot of criticism last year when he put in a statewide mask mandate in July, so he’s been trying to backpedal as much as possible. ‘Murica! UGH.
He, and other folks, are driving me crazy. The CDC changed its guidelines to say that vaccinated people** no longer need to wear masks, period. It’s become a bit of a joke on social media. Everything is on the honor system, which means that folks who refuse to get vaccinated or wear masks will simply lie and not wear them now, spreading their germs everywhere, while fully vaccinated folks are continuing to wear masks because 1) they don’t want to get mistaken for the first category, and 2) they still want to protect the unvaccinated population, especially since we only just got vaccine approval for the 12-15 age group, and nothing for the under-12s yet. That’s my cut-off point. I will continue to wear a mask in public settings until everyone has a chance to be vaccinated. And I’ll probably wear it in places like the grocery store over flu season, because really that just makes good sense. We should have been doing that for years. Japan is WAY ahead of the US on that!
Back in mid-April, the libraries opened. There were all sorts of rules about it – capacity limits, temperature checks and questionnaires, masks required, etc. After a month, thanks Gov A-Hole, all that went away. I’ve been to the library a few times since then, and mostly everyone is still masking. I do wonder what they’re going to do with all their fancy new equipment that became obsolete after a month. I’m also not sure what’s going on with city pools, which were just starting to open with specific restrictions, and now I’m not sure they’re allowed to have those restrictions. Fiesta – the big party that happens in SA every April but was canceled in 2020 and postponed til June this year – is still going ahead, again with that whole honor system thing, which means my family is giving is a hard pass this year. I mean, we’d do that anyway, because no festival should take place in the day in June in San Antonio, but I hope we don’t end up having trouble because of anti-masking anti-vaxxers.
Other noteworthy news from the last three weeks:
- hospitals, specifically labor & delivery units, began letting in more visitors than before
- one of the metro health employees, Dr Woo, has been wearing her mask even during the evening health report since the beginning, but actually had it off this last week, which was kinda awesome – she followed the strictest of safety measures and only took it off after the CDC said vaccinated people were safe to do so, and that makes me so happy!
**One of J’s coworkers is an antivaxxer health nut (an oxymoron if I’ve ever heard one), and he claims this new CDC guideline – which isn’t a law or directive, just a statement of what is/isn’t safe – is discrimination against people who don’t believe in masks or vaccines. My eyes are rolling out of my head so hard right now. These people just want to be oppressed so badly.
On the home-front
Far less news here, but a few fun firsts. My family ate in a restaurant on Mother’s Day. It wasn’t my first time back inside a restaurant, but it was everyone else’s first time in 14 months. I had my first in-person 5K in 14+ months. Ambrose traveled up to cat/house-sit for my sister in Dallas, and we didn’t even worry about the plane because he was vaccinated. Morrigan got his first vaccine up in KS. We had our first D&D session at home with Ambrose’s friend Tyler where no one had to wear masks because everyone was vaccinated. I stayed in a hotel without worrying about the people around me. We actually started planning to have some of Jason’s coworkers over for dinner because everyone in that particular group is also fully vaxxed. Seriously. Get vaccinated, people, and we can ALL start hanging out again!!
My sister’s graduation ceremony is this weekend, and even though technically they can’t require masks now, she’s asked us all to please wear them because she’s not comfortable with the situation otherwise. Happy to oblige, Julia! My portion of the family would’ve done that anyway – graduation ceremonies are crowded, and they’re not longer allowed to limit attendance, either. Again, we will keep wearing masks until kids can be vaccinated. It’s just selfish not to. But other than that, we’re starting to spend time with other people again, moving toward normal life finally, and it’s lovely.