Analyzing 2020: The COVID-19 pandemic

Kroger pharmacists conducting COVID-19 tests at a testing site in the Fifth Ward in Houston on June 27, 2020. (Credit: Annie Mulligan for The Texas Tribune)

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March brought the fast and terrible rise of the novel coronavirus that has dominated the news ever since — a pandemic that toppled the economy, dominated the election and, most importantly, threatened the health and well-being of millions of Americans and cost the lives of more than 300,000. That public health crisis changed work, education, commerce, entertainment, voting, government and just about everything else. Here are a few of my columns from the long, long months of COVID-19, from the government responses to the human toll.

Coronavirus, family, economics and false choices

The current threat to the economy is important, but it's also secondary. The worst of the new coronavirus has not yet been visited upon us. March 24.

A Texas governor caught betwixt and between Texas attitudes

Gov. Greg Abbott has been slow to impose statewide stay-at-home orders, a reluctance mirrored in many of the state's cities and counties. But more are issuing advisories as the new coronavirus pandemic spreads in Texas. March 30.

What makes a business essential depends on where you sit

Nonessential businesses in Texas (and elsewhere) have been told to close — a measure intended to increase social distance and to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. But every business is essential to someone. April 6.

Masking the real problem — a deadly virus

More people are out and about, and coronavirus cases are rising in Texas. But there's an easy way to limit the spread of the virus, if people will set their politics aside: masks. June 22.

Those aren’t just numbers. They’re Texans.

There are 347,700 Texans losing federal supplements to unemployment insurance. And 716,000 students getting laptops and tablets for virtual school. And 11,395 COVID-19 deaths. Each statistic has a human face. Aug. 26.

COVID-19’s almost incomprehensible toll in Texas

We’ve lost a lot of Texans already and will surely lose more to the coronavirus. Doesn’t it seem like there should at least be a moment of silence? Sept. 21.

Muted holidays in Texas, as pandemic threatens and vaccines raise hopes

Vaccines and antibody therapies raise hopes of combatting the coronavirus. But as the holiday season begins, the pandemic is setting new records in Texas for caseloads, hospitalizations and deaths. Nov. 25.

Leading by (bad) example

Austin Mayor Steve Adler's delivery of a stay-home message from a vacation spot in Mexico isn't just embarrassing. Mistakes like that one make it harder to lead. Dec. 4.

COVID-19 vaccines are coming to Texas, along with a ranking of who’s most essential

Great news: The COVID-19 vaccines are coming. Not so great news: There won’t be enough for all of us for a while, and that means the first doses will go to people deemed essential. Dec. 7.