Our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic examines the disease's effects on Houston and the surrounding region, both now and once the outbreak is over.

Coming out of the pandemic, how can cities counter 2020’s sharp rise in homicides?

As the nation grew accustomed to mask rules and social distancing last year, and a new normal began to set in, criminologists Thomas Abt and Rick Rosenfeld issued a warning: Do not ignore violent crime. Other experts had begun to speculate that stay-at-home orders intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus would also reduce crime rates, but the two criminologists believed that as the country opened back up, homicide rates would increase, leading to an anticipated higher overall homicide rate for 2020.

How to lessen the long-term educational — and economic — consequences of the pandemic

In the early months of the pandemic, after schooling shifted from the classroom to the kitchen table, many parents worried their children weren’t being academically prepared for the 2020-21 school year. Now, evidence suggests the pandemic’s interruption to education will have substantial and long-term consequences for an entire generation of students.

Urban gardening has taken root, and it’s time for cities to encourage new growth

The past few months have been terrifying, but also cathartic. The pandemic has shaken most of us from a false sense of security about our individual health, the efficacy of our cities to provide a high quality of life, and forced us to question many of our daily habits — how we live, work, travel and exercise, as well as how we source the food we eat. Our connection to nature. The primary lesson we, once again, must learn is that cities are not divorced from nature. They are a part of the larger biome in which they’re located.   

How stay-at-home orders added to the homelife stress of many Houstonians

For over a year, Houstonians have worked, studied, played and conducted virtually all forms of life at home under quarantine conditions in order to limit their exposure to, and the spread of, COVID-19.

Some have found the home to be a place assured of comfort and safety. But for others, the transition to a complete home life was far from seamless—for essential workers, it was impossible.

America needs more police — just a different kind

I know Minneapolis well.

I am not from there, but my wife is from just across the river in St. Paul. We still Zoom-attend Shabbat services at a Minneapolis synagogue at which we are members, and whose rabbi married us. I have in-laws and many friends in Minneapolis-St. Paul. So, we followed the news there closer than most after a Minneapolis police officer killed George Floyd last May.

5 post-pandemic predictions about how cities will be different going forward

A year ago, cities were in, bustling with a prosperity they hadn’t seen in many years. The 2020s were shaping up to be yet another “decade of the city,” with tech companies concentrated in big, dense, expensive cities like New York and San Francisco, and urban neighborhoods of color everywhere concerned about gentrification.

Then came COVID.