By Cecil Bell Jr.
Texas State Representative

It’s incredible to me that the national new commentators continue to push the hype and promote mass hysteria surrounding the Coronavirus. At a time when we need facts and relevant data, national media outlets are instead pumping fear into homes 24/7 through our cell phones and our TV screens.

Reinforcing the idea that we should live in panicked fear of an unseen foe makes them nearly as culpable as the Chinese government for withholding crucial information about the virus. I would say the media has totally shaped this response and with little regard for the consequences faced by their viewers.

In my lifetime we’ve faced multiple pandemics and countless threats of pandemics. The financial destruction we are seeing today was never a part of those responses. I don’t recall ever seeing edicts shutting down the economy in any of those events. COVID-19 is no different as a pandemic than the ones before it. With sorrow and certainty the mortality count and infection rates will peak. Keeping those numbers as low as possible has been the primary goal of every elected official from the president down to your local officials. We have not ignored the threat. That would be foolish.

We need to continue to use common sense in the response, and to follow sound guidelines for workplace and societal hygiene. Maintaining the six-foot social distancing practice until the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided is a wise choice, also.

We have spent weeks preparing our health care system to treat the most at-risk populations and give responsible guidance for those whose condition merits self-quarantine at home. We now have the obligation to provide for our most at-risk citizens while they remain under “shelter-in-place” status.

As the state prepares to begin easing restrictions and re-open business, some local journalists are already questioning the safety and risk posed by these discussions. It time to change the narrative. No more fear mongering the unknown, instead answer the questions that get to the heart of what all Texans want to know: how do we do this safely?

  • Personal accountability
  • Stringent hygiene practices for customers and employees
  • Continued social distancing measures
  • Common sense and good judgement

As of April 13th, 287 Texans fell victim to Covid-19 and their devastated families are now in need of our prayers and support. For every COVID-19 fatality we mourn in Texas, the man-made economic pandemic created by shutting down the economy has claimed another 2,533 victims. As of April 9th, the number of Texans filing unemployment claims topped the total for 2019, standing at 761,262.

Now realize that for every person successfully filing for unemployment, there is an exponential number of frustrated people who claim days spent on hold, exasperated with the online filing process, and still no relief. This does not diminish the tragedy of the lives lost, or threatened by this virus. But the media hype along the way caused a panicked response where personal responsibility was compromised and many small businesses were forced to close their doors. Some of them for good.

Texans are eager to get back to work and restore the routines required by them to provide for their own families. Restarting the Texas economy is also how we continue our effort to protect our most at-risk citizens. We’ve added the temporary bed capacity to our medical infrastructure and are prepared to receive those who need medical care. We are expanding our rapid testing capabilities to give us the best possible picture on the virus’ current impact. And we are learning more every day about how to recognize symptoms and treat patients.

Now it’s time for every level of government to act in a responsible manner. By getting out of the way so our businesses and the rest of our citizens can recover from the effects of shutting down the economy.

One certainty exists- this cannot become the way we respond to pandemics.