Have You Watched COVID Hunter?

We see the daily attacks and debate regarding Dr. Fauci. We sometimes see local vaccine authority Dr. Peter Hotez giving us his knowledge about what is to come regarding a vaccine. But have you watched UMMC’s Dr. Joseph Varon on his youtube and facebook Q&A show, COVID Hunter?

As COVID-19 enters a new surge in Fall 2020, these informative shows by Dr. Varon will help us get tips on avoidance, prevention measures, and the latest ways that he and his team at UMMC are treating patients with COVID-19. Further, he pushes away at myths about the pandemic that you may see on social media, or that come out of the mouth of Trump.

I caught his Episode 9, which he offers half in English and half in Spanish. Among the questions answered and expert comments offered were:

  • The 2nd wave of COVID-19 is definitely here and will probably last longer than the first, and even be worst that the first.
  • Varon believes schools should be closed and taught online to prevent community spread. He states that even though half of children may be asymptomatic, they are still able to spread it. If they catch it at school, they will spread it to family members. As families are more and more multigenerational, this could be catastrophic.
  • As far as avoiding COVID-19, the best way is to WEAR A MASK, physically distance from others, and sanitize (wash) your hands. Stay home as much as possible, but if you must be out and about or at work, then mask-up.
  • Other preventative measures include eating healthy, take Vitamins C, D, and Zinc to boost your immune system. And if you are among those who have underlying conditions, maintain your treatment and healthy nutrition.
  • If you do get COVID-19, he states that it must be treated early, rather than waiting for the symptoms to worsen. He added that treatments such as Remdesivir and others work when COVID-19 is in the first week after transmission as the meds try to tamp down the virus. Worsening symptoms, such as inflammation, pneumonia, and blood thickening are treated through other clinical means.
    • If you are wondering about Trump’s outcome, he was treated early, sent to a hospital early, and was given the drugs to tamp down the virus.
  • Finally, he stated that his hospital, United Memorial Medical Center (UMMC) on Tidwell will treat all COVID patients regardless of whether they are insured. But, go early in the symptomology for treatment as one has a better chance at beating this thing in the early stages.

Dr. Varon is one of the most informative docs out there as he is on the front lines treating patients everyday. We need the best information that can be disseminated to the people, rather than hair-pulling debates on the cable news channels. Thanks to Dr. Varon for offering his perspective.

We Are Entering Another COVID-19 Surge

Numbers do not lie. There is an uptick in COVID-19 cases around the country. While Houston was able to get its positivity rate to 5% thanks to a mix of local policy and cooperative residents who social distanced and masked up and stayed home and tested, Trump and Greg Abbott’s race to re-open the country is already starting to turn back any gains that have been made.

As I’ve stated from early on, the people will follow their leaders if it means they are told that there is no threat, and Trump playing down COVID-19 despite his own infection, and Greg Abbott’s re-opening policies are telling people to not worry about COVID-19.

Thus, all one has to look at are photos on social media of people returning to restaurants with increased capacity, nightclubs and concert attendance surging, and family gatherings, weddings, and events on the increase, as well as the daily superspread that occurs with local football/volleyball games and school attendance, and we should not be surprised that we are entering another surge. Add to that the continued irresponsibility of not having a mask mandate at the state and federal level and it is obvious that Republican inaction on COVID-19 isn’t about incompetence, but about indifference regarding your sickness and death.

The big news this morning is that COVID-19 positive individuals on two Houston school campuses have already closed them down after one day back. It has even happened in the smallest towns in South Texas. Students, teachers, and family need consistency, and closing down one day after re-opening because of COVID-19 exposure does not provide that consistency.

We cannot stop idiotic republicans from forcing a re-opening of schools, activities, and business, but we can at least show some effort by requiring masks and physical distancing policies if people feel the need to risk themselves and others. Not suggestions, but actual mandates with consenquences. I don’t want others’ idiocy to be the cause of death for myself or people I love.

Those of us who are being responsible by wearing masks at stores, activities, and even at work should not be put at risk by republican policies of indifference.

And, remember, there is an election going on. VOTE! Mask up, follow the distancing rules, sanitize your hands, and show up to vote. It’s the only way we get leaders responsible enough to do the right thing.

There Are Still Two Weeks of Early Voting To Go!

The first week and weekend of early voting came to a close with over 628,000 voters casting their ballots. Of those, 553,000+ showed up to one of 122 early voting centers around the county. Needless to say, it was cause for excitement with still two more weeks to go in the early voting period.

Unsurprisingly, Greg Abbott and his minions have filed an appeal with the Texas Supreme Court to stop Harris County’s innovative and active drive-thru voting option, which is going on at several locations around the county. The republican’s frivolous lawsuit was already dismissed once. The thing is, it seems to be liked by people across the political spectrum. What’s wrong with making voting accessible, convenient, and secure?

This voting option provides the opportunity to vote in a secure drive-thru, free from the threat of COVID-19. Anyway, Greg Abbott and the republicans will look for all ways in which to stop you from voting. He and his minions really suck! Anyway, the option continues while we wait for a decision.

I haven’t said it enough, Chris Hollins and the folks at Harris County Clerk’s office are doing a great job, not only running the elections, but fighting back against republican voter suppression tactics.

Week two of voting is going on now. Find an early voting location and get it done early. And don’t mind the lines. You can also find your sample ballot here.

Early Vote Day 1 Was Great!

Over 128,000 Harris Countians showed up and voted on the first day of Early Voting. Add the mail-in ballots and that number is 169,000+. Overall, it was a good voting day.

I showed up at the HCC-Alief campus on Westheimer yesterday morning and spent less than an hour in line with my neighbors. Visual estimates probably had 50 head of me with more folks showing up behind me. By the time I left, the line had gotten longer. Unlike my COVID Primary voting experience, the ID scanner actually worked on my ID and I didn’t have to spend a few minutes being questioned. The folks working the polls were friendly and efficient. Perhaps they needed more machines, but with 122 locations countywide, one could find faster locations checking wait times on the Harris County clerk’s website.

Obviously, it’s not over as Early Voting ends on October 30. And the Republicans are still trying to stop you from voting by filing a frivolous lawsuit to end the convenient drive-thru locations that are being offered by Harris County. All I heard were good things about this innovative way of voting, yet, Republicans want to make voting harder.

During these pandemic days, convenience is preferable to all–no matter theit political affiliation. Republicans, though, cannot stop their love of voter suppression. Whether it is Greg Abbott stopping multiple drop-off locations for mail ballots, or whiny lawsuits to annoy voters, the Republicans do not want you to vote.

Well, yesterday showed that people will show up in spite of Republican voter suppression tactics. And this must continue. In Harris County find your early voting location here, print out a sample ballot here, and spread the word to your friends and family! And don’t forget to thank the hard-working folks at your voting location.

And, vote for the Democrats!

2020 Early Voting Is Oct 13 thru Oct 30!

Hey, y’all! Miss me? It’s been a while.

Early voting begins today, October 13, 2020! Here in Harris County, you can print a sample ballot for the races on your ballot here, and you can find an early voting location here. Harris County is offering more locations, as well as convenient drive-thru-voting locations around the county. Along with ballot by mail and the ballot by mail drop-off at NRG Stadium, as well as a 24-hour locations which will open on October 29, this is the most convenient voting has ever been, thanks to the Democrats who are in office. THERE IS NO EXCUSE! VOTE!

As far as whom I suggest you vote for, I say vote for every single Democrat on the ballot. Go through every single race on the ballot and click on the person with a (D) by their name. We need change and we need better representation, and we need fair and just judges that only the Democrats will provide. Start with Biden Harris and vote all the way down to your JP or other local candidate.

Since Greg Abbott and the Texas Legislature got rid of “straight ticket” voting as a means of making voting harder, we’ll need to spend a few more minutes on our ballots, so, vote in every single race.

Early Voting continues through October 30. Again, click here for the early voting locations to find out where there are drive-thru locations, 24-hour locations, or the location closest to you. There are also many more NEW locations for your convenience. If you’re wondering about how long you need to wait in line, click here for wait times! I’ll keep you updated, too!

And, remember: TAKE YOUR PHOTO ID, PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING and WEAR YOUR MASK! And follow the directions of the good people working the polls.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes everyone who’s doing their best to make back to school happen – remote and in person – as we present this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff was on top of the big vote by mail rulings this week, both the good news and the bad news.

SocraticGadflysays thatthe wingnuttery was thick at an SD30 special election GOP candidate forum.

DosCentavos posts about the long-awaited video release of the HPD killing of Nicolas Chavez and the firing of those involved. What’s next?


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Dee Dee Watters insists that we include Black trans women when we say “Black Lives Matter”.

Jef Rouner experienced a range of emotions on the first day of remote school.

Grits for Breakfast tries to make sense out of Greg Abbott’s muddled messages on police funding.

Chris Hooks makes the same effort, with the same result.

Marice Richter reports on a veteran Republican political consultant switching parties this year.

Grace Keyes warns us to not take the Postal Service for granted.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Round-Up

The Texas Progressive Alliance prefers stew to bracelets and eating soup to throwing it as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff tries to follow the back and forth of the Republican attempts to prevent Harris County from sending vote by mail applications to all its voters.

SocraticGadfly had three “critical” RIPs of people in political, cultural and social news recently, most recently with Green Party activist Kevin Zeese, then before that with heterodox anthropologist and economics critic David Graeber and first with secular humanist leader Ed Brayton.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Dr. Peter Hotez gives a dozen reasons why he’s worried about releasing a COVID-19 vaccine through an emergency use authorization (EUA).

D Magazine eulogizes its founder, Wick Allison.

Eric Berger walks us through the process of forecasting and responding to a potentially devastating hurricane like Laura.

Therese Odell, daughter of a military family, cannot hold back her fury at Donald Trump’s words about people who serve in the armed forces.

Reform Austin provides an update on genetically modified mosquitoes.

John Coby is glad to see a racist assistant Attorney General lose his job.

Video of HPD Killing Nicolas Chavez Released

Four Houston PD cops were fired for the killing of Nicolas Chavez.

A well-prepared, yet, sickening video showing the various police bodycam vantage points of the Nicolas Chavez killing was released to the public  Thursday afternoon, with a play-by-play of the killing by the HPD Chief. The Chief and the cops union seem to have provided some points of defense for the fired cops, from a criminal case point of view.

It was not lost on me that the Chief (and therefore the City of Houston) took somewhat of a middle road in stating that at least two of the bullets shot into Chavez were “justified,” but that the final multi-cop volley of 21 shots were bothersome enough to fire the cops.

Of course, the cops union felt that all of the bullets were justified–even the last 21 shots. The Chief disagreed as the cops have been trained to use time as a means of deescalating a situation. I would think that allowing for more time in this situation would have effected a better outcome. The cops had already taken the time and used their training in attempting to do so.

I could go into what I think after watching the video, but I’ll leave that to the experts that I hope are utilized in explaining it to a grand jury. I just think that an already spent taser (left on the ground by one of the cops) that Chavez pulled toward himself using the wires that had already been shot into him would have done more damage to Chavez than to the cops based on what I’ve read about those contraptions. Therefore, 21 shots fired at will by four cops were not justified and such a violent reaction by the cops was not necessary.

The DA Kim Ogg has stated that the case will be presented to the grand jury once her people have reviewed the evidence. I hope it is presented well.

It is disappointing that it has taken over four months to get to this point. It would seem to me that the elaborate video presentation was more about defending the firing of the cops than about prosecuting a crime. The Chief has a knack for putting on a show when calling out crime and criminals to the cameras, but not in this case.

To watch the Chief’s presentation, click here.



Planned Parenthood Picks Anti-Immigrant Republican over Democrat

During these days of Trumpism (racism, hate, etc.), we need all the allies we can get. And other “progressive” groups have needed Latinos to be on their side, but apparently, they have their limits as to how much support they return.

Planned Parenthood (or their Texas PAC) has decided to endorse HD134 right-winger Sarah Davis, who was a vocal supporter of Senate Bill 4, a law which allows for racial profiling in the republican hunt for immigrants, over Democrat Ann Johnson. So, it’s obvious that PP wants a certain kind of republican ally when they say they want more republican allies.

Either that, or they’re hoping for a baby cagin’ contract from the state or feds, since it’s getting harder for them to run on their current business model because of republicans.

I was reminded of Margaret Sanger and her love of all things eugenics when she founded the organization. PP at the national level had disavowed Sanger and removed her name from the national HQ this summer because of her quest to “improve” humanity through selective breeding, as well as sterilization of groups of people to arrive at that goal.

What do you call racial profiling for the purpose of ridding undesirables from the US ? I’m pretty sure it’s the hate and racism we are all currently fighting against.

Some will argue about Planned Parenthood’s bigger purpose today:  Providing health care to those who need it, whether it be prenatal care, well-woman services, sex education, and yes, abortion. You know, the kind of stuff that we’re supposed to support. And that’s fine. But I draw the line at supporting bigots. I just thought that would be a general rule amongst progressives:  Don’t support bigots!

One would think such a group with an ugly history  they are still trying to overcome (Sanger and eugenics, in case you forgot) wouldn’t sell out entire groups of people to support their purpose, but they don’t seem to mind when it comes to Latin@s. And I’m pretty much tired of getting sold out by “progressive” groups, but told to shut up by these same people when we say “Abolish ICE” or “Defund the Police.” In other words, Planned Parenthood’s endorsement of an anti-immigrant republican is insulting to those of us who support progressive causes as part of some coalition-building effort.

Talk about selective progressivism on the part of Planned Parenthood.

Los Blogs de Tejas – TPA Roundup

The Texas Progressive Alliance calls for a competent and compassionate response to Hurricane Laura as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff lauds Harris County going all in on expanding voting access, while noting the objections from the Secretary of State to the plan to send mail ballot applications to all registered voters.

DosCentavos points you to a post by researcher Angela Gutierrez regarding a Latino Decisions survey of Latino parents and the challenges they face as schools reopen.

SocraticGadfly talked about the Threes Sleezekeeters: — Abbott, Fallon, Springer — while having the latest updates and some prognostication on the SD 30 special election race.


And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Michelle Iracheta remembered Hurricane Rita as Laura was barreling in.

Jeff Balke breathed a huge sigh of relief at Houston’s luck in avoiding Laura.

Therese Odell watched the RNC so you didn’t have to.

Grits for Breakfast asks why the number of police shootings in Texas keeps going up.

Paradise in Hell channels Melania Trump.

Dan Solomon has some suggestions for ensuring that your vote counts this fall.