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Each day we’re inundated with new data about the spread of COVID-19. But how do we know which numbers tell the real story?

Caroline Chen covers healthcare for ProPublica and is currently reporting on the coronavirus pandemic. During a recent episode of Think, she talked with Krys Boyd about how we should interpret the numbers to get a sense of where we’re headed.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott will visit South Texas on Tuesday to address the region's need for more hospital capacity to treat patients with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. The 2:45 p.m. event follows a morning stop in San Antonio where Abbott provided updates on the state's supply of personal protective equipment and how schools should reopen.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott stressed Tuesday that only local school boards, not local governments, have the power to decide how to open schools this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 TCU coach Gary Patterson
Associated Press

TCU football coach Gary Patterson apologized for himself Tuesday for repeating a racial slur when telling a player to stop using the slur in team meetings.

A restaurant worker cleans a table at Gueros Taco Bar in South Austin on June 24, 2020.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

For the first time in months, Texas’ sales tax revenue increased when compared to the same period last year despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Monday.

The little girl ran up to her, wide-eyed and giddy.

“Are you Charisse Davis?” the fourth grader asked.

Davis was stunned. A former kindergarten teacher and librarian, she was more accustomed to shuttling her two sons to basketball practice than being seen as a local celebrity.

Mallory Falk / KERA News

One Saturday morning last August, Erika Contreras decided she wanted to make a big, special breakfast for her two children.

William Englisbee holds a photo of his 86-year-old mother, Angelina Maria Silva de Englisbee, at Evergreen Cemetery in El Paso. She was one of 23 victims killed on Aug. 3, 2019.
Angela Kocherga / KTEP News

William Englisbee embodies the quiet strength of the city he calls home.

“Every day’s a struggle,” said Englisbee at Evergreen Cemetery East recently where he was paying respects to his mother. Angelina Maria Silva de Englisbee was among 23 people gunned down at an El Paso Walmart a year ago. She was 86.

Police lights

The killing of George Floyd has given a jump start to longstanding police reform efforts in North Texas.

Fort Worth launched its new police monitor’s office early. The Dallas Police Department decided to start releasing body and dash cam videos within 72 hours after a police officer shoots someone

Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop in Dallas on Monday, March 2, 2020.
Cooper Neill for The Texas Tribune

Joe Biden's campaign is naming its first hires for the general election in Texas, where polls continue to show a close contest between the presumptive Democratic nominee and President Donald Trump.

Mallory Falk / KERA News

Today marks one year since the mass shooting at El Paso's Cielo Vista Walmart, which police say was a targeted attack on Mexicans. Twenty-three people ultimately died, including 60-year-old Arturo Benavides, a decorated army veteran and retired city bus driver.

A police officer stands outside a home in Allen believed to be associated with a mass shooting at a busy shopping area in the border town of El Paso last year.
Jake Bleiberg / Associated Press

One year ago, police say 21-year-old Patrick Crusius opened fire on shoppers at a Walmart in El Paso, killing 23 people in what would be the deadliest attack against Latinos in recent American history. 


Sore throat is a common ailment, but it’s also now included among symptoms for COVID 19.

Stacey Rasheed, 47, is a member of Friendship-West Baptist Church, and said she felt she had to show support after a "Blue Lives Matter" caravan took over her church's parking lot. "It's upsetting that we're still fighting the same fight," she said.
Keren Carrión / KERA News

An Oak Cliff church that proudly flies a banner reading Black Lives Matter had nearly 1,000 unwanted visitors gather on their campus Sunday. 

Nick Oza / USA Today Network via REUTERS

When El Pasoans mark the one-year anniversary of the Walmart shooting Monday, attorney Yvonne Rosales will be one of hundreds of thousands of border residents reflecting on the tragedy afflicted on this city that claimed the lives of 23 people.

Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

Amid the chaos of the pandemic’s early days, doctors who faced the first coronavirus onslaught reached across oceans and language barriers in an unprecedented effort to advise colleagues trying to save lives in the dark.

Evan Agostini / Associated Press

Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey didn’t want to write an ordinary celebrity book.

Brandon Thibodeaux / The Texas Tribune/ProPublica/NBC News

Two weeks after Valery Martinez's 41-year-old cousin was rushed to a hospital with severe symptoms of COVID-19, Martinez wrote a post on Facebook, thanking the doctors and nurses at Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital in Houston who were working to save him.

Jeffrey McWhorter / Associated Press

The Texas Rangers will be without closer Jose Leclerc for most of the pandemic-shortened season with a shoulder injury similar to the one that sidelined starter Corey Kluber earlier this week.

Allie Goulding / The Texas Tribune

As higher education institutions nationwide navigate their fall returns to campus in the midst of a pandemic, the University of Texas at Austin made a bold choice to publish the latest data about all of its known coronavirus cases — a number that topped 450 as of Thursday.

The National Butterfly Center via AP

Weeks after it was criticized by President Donald Trump as “done to make me look bad,” a private border wall built by his supporters in South Texas has suffered new erosion in a weekend tropical storm that was the project’s first major weather test.

Lack Of Aid To States Could Hit Black And Women Workers Hard

Jul 31, 2020
LM Otero / Associated Press

As Congress continues to hash out plans for the next relief package, it’s not clear whether aid is coming for state and local governments. Their budgets have been hit hard by declining tax revenue since the pandemic shut down parts of the economy and by increased demand for many social services.

Bill Mack
LM Otero / Associated Press

Longtime country music disc jockey Bill Mack, whose “Blue” became a hit for LeAnn Rimes and won a 1996 Grammy Award for Country Music Song of the Year, died Friday at age 88, his son said.

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, on the House floor on April 11, 2019.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / The Texas Tribune

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt was hospitalized last week after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the lawmaker confirmed Friday to The Texas Tribune, marking the first known case involving a member of the Texas Legislature.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune

In a statement Friday, Gov. Greg Abbott said local health authorities can shut down schools if there’s evidence of an outbreak after students have already returned to campus — but cannot shut them down weeks before schools open.

Anahy Diaz

My parents moved to El Paso more than 20 years ago, after living in Ciudad Juárez for most of their lives. It’s the place where they watched their daughters outgrow Barbie Dolls and pursue careers, and where they hope to retire someday.

mural of nurse posed like Rosie the Riveter
LM Otero / Associated Press

During the coronavirusa pandemic, the number of people screening themselves for anxiety or depression has skyrocketed. 

Gloria Guillen, the mother of slain Army Spc. Vanessa Guillen, meets with President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday.
Associated Press

President Donald Trump met Thursday with the family of a Fort Hood soldier who investigators say was slain on the Texas Army base where she was stationed, saying it is a “terrible story” and that he would help with funeral expenses.

Fort Worth ISD school bus
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

By an 8 to 1 vote Thursday, the Fort Worth school board approved a later start to the upcoming school year. Classes will now begin Sept. 8, three weeks later than planned.

President Donald Trump delivers remarks about American energy production during a visit to the Double Eagle Energy Oil Rig in Midland on Wednesday.
Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press

In a rare moment in the Trump era, several Texas Republicans pushed back against President Donald Trump on Thursday when he floated in a tweet the idea of delaying the presidential election in November. The president does not have the legal authority to move Election Day; that power resides with Congress.