Random Thoughts: a lacking COVID-19 response


Hanl Brown

Staff reporter Aden McClune shares his perspective on various issues in his weekly column, Random Thoughts.

Aden McClune, Staff Reporter

As you may have noticed, COVID-19 is still rampant in the U.S. While there is some evidence to suggest that Omicron cases are peaking, and even dropping off in some areas, the Northeast especially, it still has it’s iron grip on Texas, and our schools. Several notifications are sent out a week for some students, including myself, that someone has tested positive in one of their classes, yet nothing happens. We still go to school, with no social distancing guidelines, no mask mandate, and lackluster testing, with some areas being completely out of tests. 

According to the Texas Department of Health, there have been 431,214 positive cases this school year in students alone, peaking in late December of last year. Add another 107,411 for staff, and Texas schools account for just under 1% of total cases nationwide. That might not sound like a lot, but according to BBC news, the U.S is currently looking at 73,829,294 cases, and rapidly approaching a million deaths from a preventable illness. For contrast, China, a country with 1.4 billion people, has only had 106,073 reported cases, with a meager 59 daily cases. A country with more than four times our population, has 0.14% of our total cases. 

Why? Why is our response so lackluster? If you attended Liberty last year, there was an enforced mask mandate, social distancing, and drastically reduced class sizes, due to the amount of people attending virtual classes for various reasons. Why have all of these guidelines disappeared? This can be split up into two sections. One, is the nationwide response, or lack thereof. President Biden said in a press conference in December that “There is no federal solution. This gets solved on a state level.”, a major contrast to his campaign promise to “shut down Covid” and to “Never raise the white flag and surrender.” It’s not a surrender, just a… tactical withdrawal.

So, there’s no federal solution, okay, then what will the states do? Well… it depends. Texas Governor Greg Abbott made some “suggestions” to businesses and local governments, but there are very few things the Governor has actually done, except for blocking vaccine mandates and vetoing a proposed statewide mask mandate. If you would like to see for yourself what our elected official has done for yourself, an official state document can be found here.

In fairness, the district’s hands are tied. If they do issue a mask mandate, they are required to issue an opt-out form, which would render the entire thing useless. Similarly, social distancing guidelines are blunted with no mask mandate. A virtual option would be preferable, and most likely welcomed by a majority of students, but unfortunately, that seems to be out of the question.

For most, we are condemned to the “new normal” of nearly a million deaths of loved ones both at home and abroad, nearly a hundred million cases out of three hundred million people.