For seating capacity at restaurants to be increased and for bar-bars to reopen, Gov. Greg Abbott says, essentially, that the number of available hospital beds must increase for seven consecutive days.
I’m sorry to say that this won’t be happening anytime soon.
On Monday, Tarrant County reported a single-day high 40 COVID-19 deaths and 3,021 new cases. Since the pandemic started, the county has confirmed 195,518 COVID-19 cases and 1,892 deaths, with about 139,890 recoveries.
The hospitalized patients are the ones Abbott is keeping his eye on. From a high of 1,528 patients just last week, the number has gone down to 1,461. Confirmed COVID patients account for about 24% of all available beds in the North Central Texas Trauma Region from a pandemic high of 38% 10 days ago, according to Tarrant County.
The dip isn’t something to start making party plans on. Since the pandemic began, we have seen peaks and valleys in the numbers. For the foreseeable future, business will continue as usual. For venues, there is hope in the form of Save Our Stages, the awareness campaign that resulted in about $15 billion from the $900 billion COVID relief package to be disbursed at some point soon. Hopefully, that phat, phat cash will help places like Lola’s Trailer Park, MASS, The Post, and a few other progressive local venues to hang around a bit longer, at least until everyone is vaccinated and life returns to normal, well, semi-normal.
All I want to do is see a show, and my stir craziness is starting to scare me. For very good reason. I’m thinking I may have been a super-spreader.
Last February, before the pandemic took hold, my wife and I vacationed in Italy, Venice specifically. On our last night, I became violently ill. I wrote it off as food poisoning until we landed back in the States, where we learned that Italy would be shutting down due to the novel coronavirus that had spread rapidly … in Venice.
Still feeling like utter crap, I called my doc for a sick appointment. Due to the COVIDs, she said I had to go to the ER. When I told the ER nurses that my doctor said I had to see them instead of her, one of them scoffed and said, “I just have one question for you.”
“How much did you love Italy?”
The ER doc who treated me was a little less blasé. Dressed in what looked like a Hazmat suit, she checked me out and tested me. For the flu. I asked if, y’know, you guys have any COVID tests lying around?
“I wish we did,” she answered, “but you’d probably have to go to Dallas for one.”
With a negative flu result and some scripts in hand, and with a no-effing-way-am-I-driving-to-Dallas attitude in my heart, I quarantined for two weeks before strolling back out into the wide, wide world, feeling just fine and Jim Dandy. My wife and young son have not had any problems, either. *knocks on wood* All of this means that I couldn’t have been a super-spreader. If I had been, then surely I would have super-spread it to my family. Right?
No one will give me a straight answer, not even Sir Google Googleymore. Still, I like pretending I may be a 5-foot-10, 200-pound walking virus. My wife and I will sit down for a bite and some beverages out on the town about twice a month — but only if we are 12 feet or more from the next customers, so, to my vegetarian wife’s dismay, no can do Spiral Diner on weekends. (That place is always packed.)
Or maybe I tell myself I might be (or have been for a split second) a super-spreader to avoid leaving the house. Venues have been doing a great job livestreaming shows, and I hope they continue into the future. I love ’em.
And for my next column, I will write about how cargo shorts and sports-team sweatshirts should be accepted show-going attire. At least for now. — Anthony Mariani
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