In the past two weeks, several signs point to more steps being taken to move Texas to a state more like normal. But, those were just a few steps. The road ahead remains long.

Still, there are signs that normality might be near.

• Next week, Texas high schools’ sports departments can begin voluntary summer workout programs.

• Last week, graduations were held at county high school football stadiums.

• Texas A&M University and the University of Texas announced plans to reopen campuses — including residence halls — in the fall. Still, about 20 percent of classes will be online.

• Bars, restaurants and retailers will be allowed to serve more customers — in some cases immediately — under new orders from Republican Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday to further open the state economy amid the coronavirus pandemic. Abbott’s order for “Phase 3” of the restart also allows for outdoor Fourth of July celebrations of 500 or more at the discretion of local officials.

• On Thursday, the NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team format for restarting the league season in late July at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida — another major step toward getting teams back onto the court and playing games again.

The key to all of this, though, is the procedures in place to protect people from contracting the coronavirus.

State education leaders cautioned schools there could be disruptions or even closures during the upcoming school year. Schools, they said, will have to be extremely flexible in developing plans for reopening.

National health officials have cautioned about a second pandemic wave as more and more restrictions are being lifted.

There is a hopeful sense that things are returning to normal. But again, the road ahead is long and riddled with potholes.

Galveston ISD athletic director Walter Fortune might have put it best when talking about the summer workouts.

“The biggest thing, overall, is just teaching the kids how to work out in this new normal so that we can move forward,” Fortune said. “If this goes well — and this is just my own personal belief — we’ll go back to full competition in August.”

• Dave Mathews

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(8) comments

Ray Taft

What nonsense: “National health officials have cautioned about a second pandemic wave as more and more restrictions are being lifted.”

Democrats across America said Americans need strict restrictions to keep America shutdown for fear of the coronavirus.

But now many, many Democrats — including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Who said she kept the House closed for fear of the coronavirus.) — have joined the throngs of protesters in the streets in many cities across America. Because Democrats and all those protesters, rioters and looters are violating the Democrats’ restrictions, let’s end all restrictions now.

Restrictions are nonsense, when those very same Democrats who strongly push for them, violate them and openly allow others to do so too on their Democrat-controlled city streets all across America.

Open up America fully and drop the Democrats’ big phony-restriction charade.

Chuck DiFalco

"National health officials have cautioned about a second pandemic wave as more and more restrictions are being lifted."

The media places too much emphasis on what health officials say, and not enough on what economic officials say. How about

Fed’s Bullard Urges U.S. Reopening to Avoid Risk of Depression:

BTW, it's not about people's lives vs. the economy. It's people's lives vs. many more people's lives. That is, Great Depression 2.0, if it happens, will kill far more people that coronavirus ever could.

Jim Forsythe

Population health did not decline and indeed generally improved during the 4 years of the Great Depression, 1930–1933, with mortality decreasing for almost all ages, and life expectancy increasing by several years in males, females, whites, and nonwhites. For most age groups, mortality tended to peak during years of strong economic expansion (such as 1923, 1926, 1929, and 1936–1937). In contrast, the recessions of 1921, 1930–1933, and 1938 coincided with declines in mortality and gains in life expectancy.

Chuck DiFalco

Mr. Forsythe, here we go again. So Great Depression 1.0 wasn't so bad after all. Sure. Right. Fast forward to modern times, in which high unemployment rates increase mortality:

Also, Mr. Forsythe, you take a narrow minded view of economic depressions. They historically lead to war and mass death. For example, the Great Depression (i.e. 1.0) emboldened aggressive dictators, such as Mussolini in Italy and the Empire of Japan. The former invaded African countries in the mid 30's, and the latter invaded Manchuria (China) in the early 30's, both leading to millions of casualties. Depression 1.0 transformed Hitler from a fringe political leader to the Fuhrer (leader) of Nazi Germany. Invasion of the USSR, the Holocaust, millions more deaths. Once the global dominos start to fall, they are unstoppable.

Jim Forsythe

Since you did not say you were talking about dictators and wars, I thought you were talking about the number of deaths because of the depression in the 30's and not the result of war..

Since you think a war will happen who are we going to have it with? At this time we are not close to going into a depression. You keep saying we are on the brink of a depression, what will cause it? We are not even close to the number of months and monetary requirements to be classified as a depression. We will be in a recession for a while, but we will recover.

Chuck DiFalco

Mr. Forsythe, you're still not even close to seeing the big picture, just like many local, state, and national leaders today as well as 1930.

"The number of deaths because of the depression in the 30's and not the result of war." The Great Depression caused World War 2. Depression 1.0 was the first, and largest, domino to fall in the inevitable path to war. Depression 1.0 and WW2 are inseparable, hence including deaths from both makes sense.

"who are we going to have it with" How am I supposed to know that? Nobody's crystal ball is that clear. Who would have guessed in 1930 that we would be at war with Italy in 1942? Generally speaking, wars are caused by and come at the end of economic depressions.

"At this time we are not close to going into a depression." This statement proves you are tone deaf to what's been blaring all over the media since mid-March. Highest unemployment since Depression 1.0. Small businesses all over the country either shut down permanently, or on life support. Raw materials companies laying off and going bankrupt. Travel industries being bailed out. State and local governments losing revenue and laying off workers. On and on. We are now on the brink of depression. Whether lockdowns are lifted fast enough, or have already caused too much economic damage are $64 trillion questions.

"what will cause it" You've got to me kidding me. Lockdowns of businesses of course!

"We are not even close to the number of months and monetary requirements to be classified as a depression" Oh, so we should wait for months after the obvious fact for officialdom to proclaim a depression before we should act on it? Economists sit around and classify. Policy makers act proactively. And by the way, what the federal government and federal reserve are doing now is fighting to prevent the previous depression, which is both misguided and threatening to make potential Depression 2.0 worse.

"We will be in a recession for a while, but we will recover" It took several years to recover from the Great Recession, and about 15 years to recover from Depression 1.0. And bad times were had by most all the while.

Ted Gillis

2.0 = your GPA

Chuck DiFalco

Surely, Mr. Forsythe deserves a higher GPA than that :-)

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