We all knew this was coming. The holidays are here, and we are simply not where we need to be to protect our community from COVID-19. Since late summer, there has been a deeply troubling loss in the momentum we’d begun to build as a community. Reopenings took place prematurely and, bit by bit, we’ve seen every indicator we use move in the wrong direction, again. No single day-to-day change has been dramatic, but, if you look at the trends, they are alarming and deadly:
- Since mid-September, the 14-day average of daily new cases we report in Harris County has increased more than 4 times over to 1016 new cases reported per day.
- Over the past month, that same number of average daily new cases has more than doubled.
- We have seen our county positivity rate increase from its low in early October of 5.4%. We’re now at 9.4%.
- We’re adding as many patients to our ICUs every day as we were in early June. We are tracking trends in our hospitalized COVID population just like the ones we were seeing before the crisis in June and July.
This is our wake-up call. These numbers don’t even take into account all of those that were inevitably infected at Thanksgiving gatherings, and don’t know it yet — we’ll see those numbers in the next few weeks. We’re eight months into this crisis, and I know we’ve all grown tired. But we can’t give in. We are in the middle of fighting a war against COVID-19, and if we care about our friends, family members, and neighbors, we must do more.
First, cancel gatherings, large and small, with anyone outside your household. Right now we all have a desire to be together, I know. But now is not the time. By doing so, you put them, and yourself, at risk.
Second, get tested, whether or not you have symptoms or believe you’ve been exposed. The only way we can contain the virus now is for those who are carrying the virus to quarantine, and no one knows whether they are carrying the virus or not until they get tested. Visit ReadyHarris.org for all the free options, or check with your medical provider.
I understand all of this is a lot to ask of the community. But all of these measures will save lives, even if you don’t immediately see it in front of you. Just like the virus, these sacrifices are invisible, but nonetheless substantial. And, as we make these sacrifices consistently and dutifully, we should be asking our state and federal government to meet us halfway. We need more measures to mitigate the impacts of the virus, and we need more economic relief for families and for the businesses that are suffering in the wake of this crisis.
Please try and enjoy the holidays despite this heavy weight we are all carrying. Take solace in knowing that as humans we’ve lived through much worse, and we will again. We are strong and we will get through this. Better days are coming.