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My COVID-19 Point of View: What Life Is Like in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

What’s happening in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas: My name is Jill and I’m a 33-year-old woman and native Texan who lives with depression, anxiety and epilepsy, as well as several other conditions. I’ve spent most of my life right here where I was born in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex of north Texas. I was in film and television production as well as lighting design for 13 years, but now I’m focused on helping others through writing and mental health advocacy. I’m a passionate hockey fan, a sci-fi nerd and I’ve spent two years trying to teach myself French because I’ve just always wanted to learn it.

“There have been over 158,000 cases and 2,400 deaths in Texas so far.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our state hard. Unfortunately, there have been over 158,000 cases and 2,400 deaths in Texas so far. In just the “north Texas” area where I live, there has been in excess of 42,000 cases reported. (Source: NBC-DFW) However the term “north Texas” is a metroplex of the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area, and only refers to roughly six to 10 of the 254 counties in Texas. DFW and the large Houston area have had the bulk of the cases, likely due to both the high population of those cities, and the density of their population. Much of Texas is rural, so medical resources can be limited where people live, meaning they might have to drive several hours to reach a city with a hospital equipped to handle a severe case of COVID-19.

COVID-19 from my point of view: Most places are open around here now, and many people quickly headed back out once the stores and restaurants were back in business. Most people I’ve seen have embraced wearing masks and are maintaining social distancing (several counties and cities have implemented mandatory mask wearing), and some places seem to be managing their occupancy by limiting the number of people inside at any time.

However, most businesses seem busy and often too crowded to maintain any level of distance. While a smaller grocery store in a suburban area may not be busy in the early afternoon on a weekday, most places are still quite busy during their normal peak hours, especially in high population parts of town where people tend to all frequent the same shopping area. Fortunately, most grocery stores have stayed quite well-stocked throughout the COVID-19 crisis, but they have had limited stock of some extra things in order to focus on more necessary food and cleaning products.

Although having extremely little public transportation in even the largest cities means one less potential source of contamination, it also means people rely on driving where the need to go, including for basic necessities and medical treatment. This has presented an additional challenge for those who don’t drive, and has forced much of the community to step up and find ways to help each other.

I’ve also seen churches come together and reach out to all members of the community who might need help, regardless of beliefs. It’s about strangers helping strangers, and showing love and concern. Local news has done a great job of helping keep spirits up by balancing the difficult truths of the situation and featuring uplifting stories of many of such selfless acts of kindness and community cooperation.

Because it is extremely hot in Texas, one of the only ways people can gather is indoors, which means more opportunities to be in contact with others.

Because it is extremely hot in Texas, one of the only ways people can gather is indoors, which means more opportunities to be in contact with others. This presents a challenge not only for business, but individuals. Many families are forgoing their traditional celebrations of birthdays and holidays to keep their families safe, but some are taking the chance and there have been reports of these gatherings causing a spread of COVID-19 among many of the people who were there. Those unfortunate incidents have reinforced the need for the community to continue to be vigilant and practice as many safety procedures as they can to help prevent the spread of the virus among not only their families and friends, but everyone they encounter.

How it’s affecting me: Even with businesses open again, though, I have chosen to stay home as much as possible. I still go to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctors and even physical therapy — however I have elected not to take part in any celebrations with family and friends right now. While it’s nice to have the opportunity to be out and doing things, I also don’t feel ready to put myself in too many situations yet where there will be crowds or even just many different people coming and going. I do make occasional exceptions for a last minute run to grab some candy in the evening, but otherwise try to limit it to weekly shopping trips. Finding ways to keep ourselves occupied while we’re both at home has made my partner and I even closer, and we are also happy to stay home and protect our health until we feel the time is right.

It is still difficult for some people to understand why I’m not attending family functions, or why I still don’t feel comfortable going to church.

It is still difficult for some people to understand why I’m not attending family functions, or why I still don’t feel comfortable going to church, and that often makes me feel extremely guilty. I have to continually remind myself that, while others may not understand or agree with my decisions, I am doing them in the best interest of my health. 

My hopes for the future: I hope that this has given our city a greater sense of community. It’s easy to want to help our family and friends in difficult times, but this has shown so many of us that we need to be extending that same love and care to complete strangers who need our support as well. I hope we continue to grow that sense of community involvement in our city even as things may being to get closer to the “normal” way they were before the pandemic.

I am looking forward to a chance to reunite with friends and family when it feels safe for me to do so. It will be great to enjoy the small things I didn’t realize were so valuable, like the ability to go to a movie theater or a restaurant with a loved one. I’m also looking forward to getting to take a road trip with my incredible partner, which we are already planning for when the time is right!

Local resources: 

Do you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area? Tell us about your COVID-19 experience in the comments below.