We have been fielding a lot of inquires if the Pate Swap Meet is still scheduled to start on October 1st. We thought it would be a good idea to post an update with what we know and what we don't know.
First, officially, we're still a "go" unless the government (local or state) locks us down. In reality, we simply don't know the likelihood of a lockdown of our event because we can't predict what third-parties, like governments, might do in the near future. At this moment, we're working hard to have the event as scheduled starting October 1, 2020.
Any decision by any controlling third-party (state or local government or the Speedway) will likely occur in the next few weeks. We have a deadline of September 1, 2020, where we must commit. Any decision by a controlling third-party, therefore, will likely be soon.
Please, do not take that statement for anything more than the simple declaration it is. Please don't try to read between the lines or parse the words. We're a "go" until such time as a controlling third-party lock us down and that hasn't happened yet. If there is to be a lockdown (and we don't know there will be one), our best guess is that it will be imposed on us shortly, within weeks, BUT it hasn't happened yet and a lockdown may not happen at all.
Any such lockdown decision for an event as large as the Pate Swap Meet decision has both medical aspects and political aspects. Any outside decision will be made, in part, by third-party "powers that be" that we do not control. Therefore, the future is not entirely in our hands and therefore uncertain as many other things are in our life as a result of the pandemic.
In the past, when asked about canceling the swap meet, we have consistently taken the position that it was too soon to do so and that there was time to see how the medical situation developed over the summer. There were time and information tools available with official medical statistics to help us make a more informed decision. We have regularly monitored the official Texas health surveillance system and the official State-of-Texas-operated dashboard for the COVID-19 statistics on a daily basis.
We finally do have some clarity about the medical situation. Below, we will report the official numbers current as of 4:30 p.m. Saturday, August 15, 2020. In summary, all of the key numbers (numbers of new cases per day, deaths, hospitalizations, recoveries, etc.) are all moving in the right direction and the improvements are picking up their pace. For example, new cases per day are down ~35% from their peak of about a month ago.
While the numbers are greatly improved and are continuing to improve, the COVID-19 virus certainly hasn't gone away. People can still get sick and could have dire outcomes for some people with certain pre-existing medical conditions. Working in our favor, we are an outdoor event and our ~10,000 spaces are naturally spread out on a dang-big piece of real estate. Also, over the summer, people have learned how to get out and still practice safe behaviors. If people take the usual precautions (social distancing, face coverings, wash hands, etc.) we should be able to have a safe event in October.
OF COURSE, each vendor and visitor has to make their own judgments and assessments of their personal health risks. We have older friends with serious pre-existing medical conditions and comorbidities who are wisely staying home this year but they aren't going out to the grocery store in their neighborhood either.
Nobody has locked us down yet and we ARE hopeful about having the Pate Swap Meet on October 1st. No, that isn't a clear-cut answer yet and it does leave open the possibility that we could be forced to still cancel the event. But such uncertainty does reflect exactly the situation we face. We want to keep you informed with the best information we have.
We're watching things daily and have been reporting to all of you regularly every several weeks.
We have a final decision date of September 1, 2020. By that time we must make a final decision UNLESS a controlling third-party like a local or state government locks us down beforehand.
If there is any lockdown, we will send an announcement to the entire mailing list immediately upon any decision becoming official and final. We will also post feature stories to the website, certainly at the top of the home page as I did with the postponement back in March.
Our advice is to check the website often over the next several weeks. You won't have to dig for the story. Any future "go" or "no-go" decision will be featured prominently in the "above the fold" space near the top of the home page.
Texas COVID-19 Medical Statistics
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) is working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in responding to the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID‑19) that is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness worldwide. Official case statistics for the State of Texas are collected and reported EACH DAY about 4:30 p.m. Central Time via a special online dashboard set up for this purpose and operated by the State. We collect these statistics daily via an Excel workbook and graph them.
In the three key line-graphs at the bottom of the page, note the thin blue lines are the raw data as reported from the State of Texas. Like all raw daily data, it is "noisy" and prone to up and down swings that make it difficult to see trends. To discern the trends, both short-term and long-term, we use statistical smoothing techniques. The green lines (short-term smooth) and the thick black lines (long-term smooth) mathematically smooth the raw data using a published and a generally-accepted statistical technique called "Exploratory Data Analysis" or EDA. The smoothing is done via a data algorithm and has no editorial input or bias, just pure math. Note that the EDA technique is basically backward-looking and helps us (and you) to more-easily see overall historical trends.
In summary, the key numbers (numbers of new cases per day, deaths, hospitalizations, recoveries, etc.) are all moving in the right direction and the improvements are picking up their pace. For example, new cases per day are down ~35% from a month ago.
Of the total of 528,838 total cases of COVID-19 that have been experienced in Texas, 76.2% of them are now "recovered" and the rate of recoveries is increasing. The total number of active cases of COVID-19 in Texas has declined 15% in just the last three weeks. Of the number of active cases in the State, currently, only 5.2% of them are serious enough to require hospitalization. To date, 1.86% of people that have become infected with COVID-19 have died. To date, only 1.77% of the population of the State of Texas has become infected with COVID-19 and detected and three-quarters of those have recovered.
However, despite the improving numbers, the COVID-19 virus is still "out there" and can infect people today, possibly with dire consequences. Just because the numbers are greatly improved and moving in the right direction doesn't mean we're back to normal; people still have to take reasonable precautions and there is always a risk of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus.
Beyond an improving medical situation, any decision for a lockdown also has a very real political dimension among governments and authorities. It is simply impossible to read those tea leaves based solely on medical data. We can only wait and see which direction the political winds blow.
Update Note: All of the charts below have been updated to show data as of the afternoon of August 19, 2020.