Coronavirus and TSP

2 Oct 2020   Important Changes!  See Below!

All of us are worried about the impact of the Coronavirus on TSP in the 3rd week of May.

On 3/15/2020 the CDC recommended that for the next 8 weeks, organizers cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of over 50 people… to reduce introduction of the virus into new communities and to slow the spread of infection in communities already affected by the virus.  Since TSP starts May 17, it may be that no action is required on our part.

There is a lot of information that we don’t know yet, including how much COVID-19 develops in Texas and its timing.

The Operations team is watching this closely and have had hours of discussions about this.
Our March 17 evaluation is to not to cancel TSP at this point, given lack of concrete information on conditions/challenges for May 17 and later.
We plan to re-evaluate on April 1st and on April 13.
We decided on April 7 to cancel TSP 2020.   More info at TSP 2020 Cancelled

Our inclination was to have TSP 2020 if at all possible.    If so, we would:

  • Encourage social distancing and face coverings
  • Have the Ranch Dining area serve each meal in 2 shifts, depending on your last name
  • Allow take out of your meal to your room
  • Limit seating in the Meeting Hall to 150 (instead of 350)
  • Cancel the Great Texas Giveaway (doorprizes) on Fri/Sat nights.
  • Increase training of our medical folks including any supplies they may need.
  • We’ll work on getting hand-sanitizer stations for public areas.

On the other hand, there may be factors that might cause us to cancel TSP.
These would include a significantly high number of cases in Texas,
a mandatory local or State ban on large gatherings directly affecting our event, and
Prude Ranch inability to provide meals (supply chain problems).

COVID-19 Texas positive or suspect cases

  • 752,501 (total thru Oct 1) 3,234 new cases on October 1
  • 674,772 (total thru Sep 17) 3,409 new cases on September 17
  • 557,256 (total thru Aug 19)  6,474 new cases on August 19
  • 403,307 (total thru July 29) 9,042 new cases on July 29
  • 168,062 (total thru July 1)    8,076 new cases on July 1
  • 68,271 (total thru June 3)   1,703 new cases on June 3
  • 6,171 (total thru April 28)    874 new cases on April 28
  • 3,021 (total thru March 31)   144 new cases on March 31
  • 64  (total thru March 17)

COVID-19 Texas deaths:

  • 15,823 (total thru October 1)
  • 11,805 (total thru August 26)
  • 6,159 (total thru July 29)
  • 2,481 (total thru July 1)
  • 1,734 (total thru June 3)
  • 690 (total thru April 28)
  • 40 (total thru March 31)
  • (total thru March 17)

COVID-19 Texas tests processed (public and private labs):   at least  6,282,329  (5,740,674 as of Sep 23)
We are watching metrics at:  Texas Health and Human Services Coronavirus Disease 2019 Status   and   CDC COVID-19 in the US and the John Hopkins University Resource Center (live map)

A comparison with COVID-19 virus and flu counts bears some thought to help bring some perspective.
Texas State Health Services reported (as of of April 4, 2020),
51,256 (50,617 at 3/21) positive tests in Hospital labs for flu, cumulative this flu season.
2,650 people died in Texas from the flu/pneumonia thru Jan 29th; 2,010 of these were over the age of 65.
(182 at 3/21) positive tests for the week ending April 4,
These labs are not the only testing labs in Texas, but serves are an indicator of how prevalent the flu is in Texas


What should I do, as a TSP attendee?

  • If you attend TSP, you do so at your own risk of exposure and catching the Coronavirus
  • We ask that you DO NOT attend TSP:
    • Our objective is to not bring people into the area whom are most at-risk of getting sick and risk burdening the Alpine hospital and community
    • NEW!  if you are over the age of 65 and not healthy/fit  (can you walk/hike 1 mile?)
    • NEW!  if you are ANY AGE and have an at-risk condition for infection or respiratory problems such as:
      • chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
      • have COPD or smoker’s cough
      • serious heart condition
      • immunocompromised including cancer treatment
      • severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] >40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
    • if you or a member of your family has tested positive for COVID-19 virus
    • have been exposed (within last 20 days) to a person who has tested positive
    • develop signs (get medical care!):
      • Fever
      • Cough
      • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
      • Get urgent medical care:
        • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
        • New confusion or inability to arouse
        • Bluish lips or face
      • above symptom(s) may appear 2-14 days after exposure
    • If you have been to TSP before and know you usually get a cough, shortness of breath, etc..
      • It will be difficult to know if you are exhibiting normal signs or have the Coronavirus.  Please stay away!
  • While at TSP:
    • Bring hand-sanitizer, disinfectant, a thermometer and aspirin/acetaminophen or other fever-reducing medication, to self monitor and medicate
    • NEW!  Wear a facial cover/mask
    • NEW!  Get a Buddy!  Have a backup evacuation plan
      • What happens if you get ill with symptoms of COVID-19?  We prefer that you leave TSP as soon as practical.
      • Arrange in advance with another person at TSP who can take you home, and vice versa
      • If you (or buddy) gets sick, but not in respiratory distress (ie not requiring emergency breather), will likely NOT qualify you for the hospital in Alpine.  They may turn you away in which case you would need to head home while ill.
      • Please don’t come unless you have a buddy!  We will be unable to help you with transport!
      • Carry your personal eyepiece when looking through multiple telescopes
      • Ask the telescope operator to remove their eyepiece
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands
    • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue (or bent elbow) and throw the tissue in the trash
    • Avoid sharing personal items like utensils, food, and drinks
    • Avoid shaking hands with others… this year a cheerful smile and a wave might do!
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food
      • or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
    • Periodically wipe down surfaces with disinfectant (ladder sides, other “public” surfaces)
    • Read our TSP Emergency information
  • Be Informed!
    • Differences: COVID-19 vs. the Flu (John Hopkins Medicine)
      • Both cause fever, cough, body aches, fatigue; sometimes vomiting and diarrhea
      • Both can be spread from person to person through droplets in the air from an infected person coughing, sneezing or talking
      • Both may be treated by addressing symptoms, such as reducing fever. Severe cases may require hospitalization and support such as mechanical ventilation
      • Infections:
        • COVID-19:
          34,332,476 cases worldwide. 7,279,065 cases in the U.S. as of October 2, 2020
          29,893,298 cases worldwide. 6,631,568 cases in the U.S. as of September 17, 2020
          23,926,683 cases worldwide. 5,779,395 cases in the U.S. as of August 26, 2020
          16,762,605 cases worldwide. 4,352,304 cases in the U.S. as of July 29, 2020
          10,498,090 cases worldwide. 2,636,538 cases in the U.S. as of July 1, 2020
          6,405,532 cases worldwide. 1,831,821 cases in the U.S. as of June 3, 2020
          3,113,447 cases worldwide; 1,011,877 cases in the U.S. as of Apr. 28, 2020
          800,049 cases worldwide; 164,610 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 31, 2020
          187,689 cases worldwide; 4,661 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 17, 2020
          115,997 cases worldwide;    761 cases in the U.S. as of Mar. 10, 2020
        • Flu: Estimated 1 billion cases worldwide; 9.3 million to 45 million cases in the U.S. per year
      • Deaths:
        • COVID-19:
          1,023,708 deaths reported worldwide. 207,816 people In the U.S as of October 2, 2020
          941,363 deaths reported worldwide. 196,831 people In the U.S as of September 17, 2020
          820,209 deaths reported worldwide. 178,533 people In the U.S, as of August 26, 2020
          661,012 deaths reported worldwide. 149,260 people In the U.S, as of July 29, 2020
          511,851 deaths reported worldwide. 127,425 people In the U.S, as of July 1, 2020
          380,773 deaths reported worldwide. 106,181 people In the U.S, as of June 3, 2020
          216,930 deaths reported worldwide; 58,351 deaths in the U.S., as of Apr. 28, 2020
          38,714 deaths reported worldwide; 3,170 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 31, 2020
          7,494 deaths reported worldwide; 85 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 17, 2020.
          4,087 deaths reported worldwide; 27 deaths in the U.S., as of Mar. 10, 2020.

          • Mortality rate of COVID-19, is presently thought to be higher than that of most strains of the flu
        • Flu: 291,000 to 646,000 deaths worldwide; 12,000 to 61,000 deaths in the U.S. per year
    • The “flu season” will be substantially ended by May 17.  If you get symptoms, take them seriously!
    • Did you know that the TSP environment has impacted attendees in similar ways as the Coronavirus?
      • High elevation (5,000′) can cause shortness of breath, especially in older people or those with respiratory limitations (COPD, etc)
      • A very dusty environment can cause coughs, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms
      • These factors make it difficult to distinguish that a person has COVID-19 or if they have a common malady
      • Just because a person shows these symptoms does NOT mean they have Coronavirus.  However, we ask that everyone show consideration for others and leave TSP if you show these symptoms.

How do I request a refund/cancel? (deadline May 1, 2020)

Check back at this page for the latest updates, as TSP leadership continues to monitor this situation.


DISCLAIMER:  TSP is providing information from other sources including CDC, WHO, and other health organizations.  There are no guarantees that information on this webpage is effective nor complete.