Tag Archives: masks

Houston Back at Medium Risk for COVID-19

The Houston Health Department quietly announced that Houston is back at “Medium” risk for COVID-19, while this week the positivity rate reached 21.1%. Harris County still has us at “Yellow,” which they call controlled levels.

The best advice given by Houston Health is to “consider” wearing a mask if one is at high health risk. They have also stopped using “low” to describe the positivity rate, while pushing vaccines to help lower the numbers. The good news about vaccines is that children under 5 have been cleared to get the COVID-19 vaccines. Whether parents will do the responsible thing and get them vaccinated is to be determined.

Among the famous to report testing positive now is White House COVID-19 advisor Dr. Fauci himself. He’s experiencing mild symptoms and is on paxlovid, the anti-viral med approved to fight COVID-19. One story on the drug is that it is most effective on folks at high risk for severe symptoms based on health and age. That’s 50% of the people around the world. The hope is that better antivirals will be produced to help alleviate symptoms for all categories of people.

Well, all of this time later, people should know the drill. Masks help, especially the good ones like KN-95s and KF-94s. Staying away from crowds is even better. Encourage your bosses at work to get back into the masking groove to protect employees and lower workplace risk. Diving head first into a crowd of strangers unmasked is probably not a good idea. Sure, you might live if you’re vax’d and boosted, but why even get sick? Just be safe.

Another Disappointing COVID-19 Report

Houston Health reported Monday that the COVID-19 14-day positivity rate has jumped from 6.1% last week to 8.1% this week. They still call it “low,” which boggles the mind since infections are probably higher and deaths continue, but at least they are promoting testing and vaccination. Not that the needle is moving on vaccinations.

Among the popular folks that are reporting they tested positive is Congresswoman SJL. I wish her a speedy recovery. Whenever I see her, she is masked up while working a crowd or an event giving out baby formula. Unfortunately, and as Dr. Hotez recently attested, these new variants will catch you when you are not being careful.

Anyway, N-95, KN-95, and KF94 masks are accessible and affordable at the moment. Stock up and wear them in stores, workplaces, and crowded areas. Stay out of crowds, if possible. And order your next round of Biden COVID-19 tests so you can get ahead of it if you indeed get sick.

All levels of government aren’t doing much in Texas and even local leaders seem to continue jumping into COVID spit clouds at events, so, those of us who really don’t want to get sick are on our own.

Judge Hidalgo Puts Us Back At Yellow

Congrats to all those who are not at-risk or immunocompromised and have been given the green light to move about unmasked at mass events. County Judge Lina Hidalgo has lowered the color code to yellow. People have been living on green, attending unmasked events, and not really paying attention to anything regarding COVID, though. But, congrats anyway.

Me? I look forward to my almost weekly visits with a family member who is immunocompromised, so, I do everything possible to not get infected. That means no mass, unmasked events with people I don’t know or trust to be safe. That means masking up with KN-95 and KF-94s at work, at the store, amongst people, etc. That means if you must see me, I’ll probably be double-masked!

Thankfully, I really like my family members. We make great food together. We even have our own house band and make great music. Studio quality if the booze is flowing. It’s what’s important to me.

Anyway, back to my normal. As, the Judge said, “stay vigilant.”

COVID Happenings

CDC will extend mask mandate on public transport (planes and trains and buses) through April 18. Republinuts are suing, obviously, since they don’t care about anyone. Unfortunately, they cite “science” in their defense. The same science that leaves at-risk and immunocompromised people vulnerable with weakened color codes, I guess.

Anyway, good luck to all.

Yes, Another COVID-19 Week

Did You Order Your Free Test?

The Biden Administration’s 1 billion at-home COVID-19 tests are now available for all to order at COVIDtests.gov. Also, if one is insured, get information on how to get reimbursed by ones health insurance at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website. Since we’re Texas, there are different and varying ways in which workplaces are dealing with in-house infections (or trying to avoid them), so, there is an unfortunate chance that one can get infected if some boss or co-worker is walking around unmasked and coughing up a lung at work. PCR Testing is probably better to get to the bottom of ones status, but if one is showing symptoms, then an at-home rapid test could be helpful. Get Vax’d/boosted, wear a mask in public places, and avoid crowds.

Free N-95s?

The Biden Administration also announced that 400 million N-95 masks will become available to the public starting next week. Higher level masks, like N-95, KN-95, and KF-94 masks increase the time for COVID-19 to spread; meaning, if you’re in a workplace setting with a lot of people or a crowd, these masks can be more effective.

The plan consists of working with pharmacies and community health centers to distribute the nonsurgical masks, which will come from the Strategic National Stockpile. The administration will begin shipments this week and hopes to have the program fully operational by early February, the White House official said.

That’s nice and all, but I wish there was a way for Biden and company to lower the costs of higher-level masks. No sooner had I ordered a batch of 50 KN-95 masks at a good price, Omicron arrived in full-force and so did the profiteering, thus, doubling + the price within days. Instead, Biden is making stuff available from the stockpile while manufacturing capacity has somewhat increased, but costs have not been controlled.

It’s Getting Better?

Notwithstanding several exposures that required more than one test in my own family over the last month, there are reports that COVID-19 measured through our Houston wastewater is seeing a decrease, and hospitalizations might be waning in a few places. That kind of talk worries me because people begin to act like fools as if they can go back to their most recent “normal,” which means unmasked mass events with people beyond their circle of trust. Don’t! It’s going in the right direction, but we’re still at almost 40% positivity.

Bottom line, we are still in the thick of it. With schools and universities reopening after the holiday, the “end” of this surge may be delayed. If schools have access to testing, masks, and vaccinations, then there is hope. But it will not be an easy task.

Many state universities are doing “soft openings,” which will begin with online instruction before going back to full capacity. For all the complaining about having to go back to virtual learning, if people wore masks indoors all the time and got vaccinated/boosted, and if higher ed leaders were to stand up to the likes of Greg Abbott, we may have had a better shot at keeping things open. But even the simple tasks are too much for people at all levels.

As always, mask up, get vax’d and boosted, and stay away from big crowds.

Now, It’s About Personal Responsibility

“We’re past the time of government mandates, we’re into the time for personal responsibility, and that’s exactly what we will do,” said, Greg Abbott, the governor who didn’t mandate much of anything during the pandemic and helped cause over 50,000 COVID-19 deaths in Texas

Or, as Kuff starkly reminds everyone, “You’re on your own.”

Greg Abbott will not be mandating mask-wearing, not even for the least vaccinate–school kids.

“Everyone has had more than a year to master all the safe strategies that they can choose what’s best for them and their family members,” said the governor who has seldom encouraged safe strategies, particularly at all his campaign-like press conferences.

Meanwhile, the medical experts are predicting a fourth COVID-19 surge. More than half the state is unvaccinated because Greg Abbott reminds everyone that it’s their right to not get it. And it seems personal responsibility is the last thing on people’s minds as they are everywhere unmasked and in mass gatherings.

That’s today’s update on Texas government ineptitude.

UPDATED 6:30PM – Hidalgo Updates Order – Harris County Face Covering Order Effective Today

UPDATE 6:30PM:  Judge Lina Hidalgo updated her order, stating:  “Harris County is the epicenter for the Covid-19 crisis in Texas and face coverings are one of the only weapons we have to stop the spread of the virus and reopen safely. We have a face covering order today and we’ll still have a face covering order tomorrow. In practical terms, the governor’s order doesn’t change much because, like every order we’ve issued so far, we’d made it clear that the priority was education. The fine was there as a signal of how vital mask wearing is, and in many ways, the community got that message. It’s been disappointing to see folks politicize public health, and I hope this means they’ll go back to focusing on health and safety instead of politics. As we have in the past, we will amend this order to conform with the governor’s.”

UPDATE 5PM:  Texas Governor Greg Abbott and his band of pendejos have ordered that some businesses be allowed to re-open at limited capacity, while also allowing face coverings to be optional. The order supercedes any pro-health order signed locally. Given that there is no enforcement of masks, I’m pretty sure there won’t be enforcement of “capacity” at businesses that do re-open.

We can call this one Greg Abbott’s COVID-for-ALL order.


The face covering order signed by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo goes into effect today, 4/27 and lasts until 5/27. The Chron has a simplified graphic for what the order says. Follow it, and some of us civilians who want to flatten the curve won’t report you, photograph you, or take down your license plate number. Seriously!

And as the order states, the masks can be homemade. So, if you have an old t-shirt laying around, fashion it into something. You don’t need the fancy machine-made masks everyone (me, included) is showing off. Or, better yet, STAY HOME, so you don’t have to wear masks so often. That’s my plan.

You can also pick up masks at various locations around the county. (CLICK HERE)

((CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE))


Here’s something to consider:

It’s not the end of the world. And, it’s not the end of your personal rights. If anything, use of a mask in public places will likely prolong the amount of time you can live under the Bill of Rights and the privileges we enjoy as we all flatten the curve and, you know, not get sick.

For the whining complainers, if all you are doing is spreading untruths about constitutional law and pandemic cures, while peppering your comments with racist and misogynistic commentary about the County Judge, then, we really know your intent:  It’s to be a racist asshole. C’mon! It’s not like you’re a child who’s been thrown into a cage for no reason.

Everyone else, have a great day!