Social distancing works: So how come more people don't do it?

Posted at 6:18 PM, May 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-05 19:43:49-04

WACO, TX — McLennann County health leaders say people there have truly begun to flatten the curve when it comes to COVID-19.

But not all counties can say the same.

In fact, a debate has begun about how well Texans have taken to new health guidelines.

The Houston Chronicle, in a report Tuesday morning, cited a Hearst newspapers analysis that says Texas reported 7,000 new COVID-19 cases last week...the most since the pandemic began.

At the same time, the number of Texans testing positive fell to their lowest levels in over a month.

Those apparently contradictory facts leave many to question whether Texans have done enough to protect themselves from COVID-19.

Joanna Burrell certainly doesn't think so.

She's become very cautious about shopping.

”I just see crowds everywhere and carts everywhere and germs everywhere and this virus can live on items so everything you're touching, I just don't know the answer," said Burrell.

She's not alone.

Texas House speaker Dennis Bonnen sent out a tweet Monday criticizing big box stores for their lax social distrancing and virus protection.

25 News reporter Dennis Turner checked out the stores that concerned Bonnen.

Home Depot had only a couple of employees wearing masks and social distancing. and hardly any customers.

Lowes did better, with most employees and some customers wearing masks and a few social distancing.

Walmart had most employees wearing masks and some social distancing with bout 20 percent of customers following suit.

H-E-B did the best with all employees wearing masks, more social distancing and more, but not all, customers doing the same.

”All of our stores have a COVID action manager who manages a team of partners that their job is specifically all day long to sanitize carts, frequently shopped places, shelves door handles, freezer doors,” Said Chelsea Thompson, of H-E-B in an interview last month.

Monday night, the McLennan County Sheriff's Department served a warning at an Elm Mott game room for operating outside the governor's order.

It comes as graphs from UT Austin show what would happen in Waco and in Temple-Killeen in the case of no masks and social distancing, only school closings, and 50, 75 and 90 percent following of guidelines.

The graphs show, as more of us follow the rules, the lines flatten out.

”So if you're in situations where people have to come in closer contact, the more people who wear masks the better. and it should be encouraged for everyone,” said Dr. Farley Verner, Health Authority at Waco-McLennan County Public Health District.

Joanna Burrell says it would make her feel a little better about shopping.

”I'm kind of OCD, I kind of step back and I kind of, like, step my distance and I just let someone go in front of me,” Burrell.

Governor Abbott would like to proceed to the next step of reopening the economy by the end of this week, a move that would include many small business.

But that all depends on keeping infection rates low, and only we Texans have control over that.