Galveston County will see an upturn in COVID-19 cases in coming days, weeks or months.
There are certainties in life. One is that relaxing of stay-at-home orders, reopening businesses and the high volume of visitors to the area are a cocktail for numbers to rise.
The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to advise the best defense is a good offense: Remove yourself from general circulation by sheltering at home or within a smaller group of people you know when possible; wash your hands like crazy; and wear a mask to help reduce aerosol spread.
None of this should create panic. The spread is a mathematical formula — as are the consequences of relaxing restrictions.
People with compromised immune systems or preexisting health challenges are most susceptible. Advanced age also is a risk factor.
But let’s remember, there is not yet a vaccine. And the primary driver of all these restrictions on life and commerce was to “flatten the curve,” to keep the number of cases from overwhelming our health care system — not snuff the virus out. That will take a vaccine.
If projected numbers approach near capacity levels, circumstances will demand we rethink our public strategies. Until then, we move forward.
So where do we go from here?
An increase in cases is highly likely. What is important is we respond instead of react. The first is a thoughtful process; the second is an emotional one.
Let’s move into this new normal with the understanding protective masks are not a fad to be cast aside like mood rings and hula hoops. Wearing one is like holding the door for the person entering a store behind you — you don’t have to, but your mom told you to always be considerate to others. Your mask for facial covering says just that.
Be selective about where you go and what you do. As local businesses have reopened, they’ve invested countless hours and dollars in preparing their restaurants, retail stores and coffee shops to ensure a safe environment. Supporting those you believe are doing a good job with your return business will be critical. Jobs depend on your patronage.
And finally, consider this COVID chapter a long, slow burn. If you are in large groups, make sure you practice social distancing and use facial coverings whenever possible. Doing so will at least reduce your and others’ potential for spread. Totally disregarding protective practices will prove harmful to all, so use your good judgment and protect others.
We do not wish COVID-19 on one single person. We fully appreciate the dangers and risks it poses. But we also know we must adapt to the new world and that will take our active participation. You know the recommendations — make your mother proud.
A special thanks to all first responders and medical personnel. Your efforts during these times are critical in our lives.
• Leonard Woolsey