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Saturday, March 6, 2021

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Students react to Texas coronavirus surge


As coronavirus cases rise across the state, students reflect on the statistics and whether another shutdown could be helpful in slowing viral spread. | File Photo/The Cougar

Coronavirus cases in Texas have been surging, leaving students wondering how things may have been different if the state handled the coronavirus differently at the start of the pandemic.

Nine months into the pandemic, the Lone Star state continues to experience steadily rising coronavirus cases, which have now jumped to 1.18 million, and has seen over 20,000 deaths.

For some students, the numbers are a reflection of loose restrictions implemented by the Texas government.

“I’m not surprised due to the lax of how the restrictions were at the beginning of the pandemic,” said public health freshman Mihret Beregen. “I feel like if we had better control of it in the beginning we wouldn’t be where we are now.” 

Gov. Greg Abbott has stayed on the course of his mid-September reopening plan, despite cases spiking to the “warning flag” level that has warranted previous statewide shutdowns.

For other students, including political science sophomore Cullen Schoppa, the numbers show that people are not taking the pandemic as seriously as they should.

“People, including myself at the beginning, have been taking this virus very lightly, which I feel like is what’s doing the most damage,” Schoppa said. “Where that streams from…I personally lay at the feet of our leaders for publicly not taking it seriously themselves and for all our sake, I hope we do (have another lockdown).” 

Schoppa believes that another lockdown could be in everyone’s best interests. Other students, such as supply chain and finance junior Desiray Nix, are a little more fearful for another lockdown and how that could impact the state’s economy. 

“My main concern is that we’re going to be put back on lockdown and we’re going to get a repeat of the last few months,” Nix said. “So I’m concerned we’ll go back on lockdown, and it’s going to take a major hit to our economy, and a lot of us are graduating and trying to find jobs right now and it’s been super difficult.” 

As of Nov. 14, Texas’ unemployment rate rests at 6.9 percent and 3.8 million Texans have applied for unemployment since mid-March, according to the Texas Tribune.

The rise in unemployment has not left the UH community untouched, with some student workers losing their on-campus jobs after the University shifted to remote operations in  March.

Experts and city officials have pushed for intervention by public officials and continued vigilance in virus prevention practices.

Dr. James McDeavitt, the dean of clinical affairs at Baylor College of Medicine, said he believes public officials will start trying to reduce the spread and lower the number of cases, according to ABC13

“I don’t think it will be a switch. I think it will be more targeted and timelier with a lot less social disruption and a lot less economic disruption,” McDeavitt said. 

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo encourages everyone to continue wearing face masks, practicing safe social distancing and maintaining hygiene habits. 

“Already enough lives have been lost. It’s setting ourselves up for greater economic pain, deaths and illnesses,” Hidalgo told ABC13. “We now know inevitably another pull-back is necessary. It’s going to be coming soon, I’m sure.”

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

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