This week's roundup of Dallas city news includes items about the coronarirus, Southwest Airlines, the Presidential election, and an annual photo contest of the Trinity River.
Here's what happened in Dallas this week:
Dallas-Fort Worth is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases with Dallas County averaging 512 new cases every day for the past week and Tarrant County even higher at an average 700 new cases per day. It appears to be part of a surge nationwide, although so far, there has not been an accompanying increase in the number of deaths.
The middle seat
Southwest Airlines is going to begin to fill the middle seats on flights beginning in December. Southwest doesn't actually assign seats, but they've been selling a limited number of tickets per flight to free up the middle seat as a precaution against COVID-19.
However, a study shows that the risk of getting coronavirus on an airplane is rare when everyone on board wears a mask: 44 people out of nearly 1.2 billion passengers who have traveled in 2020, or one case for every 27 million travelers which puts it in the same risk category as being struck by lightning, the airline notes.
Students working at elections
More than 1,800 students applied to the Dallas County Elections Department to help man the polls on election day November 3 — nearly double the 1,000 applicants in the last election, and the largest number that have ever applied. Students are especially important this year because poll workers are frequently elderly, and many are sitting out because they're at-risk for COVID-19.
The students are not working during the early voting period because of school; but they'll be on duty on November 3, which has been designated as a student-teacher holiday for Dallas ISD. They'll get paid $16 per hour.
Trinity River photo contest
The annual Trinity River Photo Contest — a celebration of local photographers who capture the Trinity River — has a new twist for 2020: a people's choice award.
Photographers could enter under Professional, Amateur, or Youth divisions and submit up to two images in each of the following categories: Nature, Places, and People. Submissions ended on October 12.
Voting for the People's Choice awards is open to the public and will be tallied through the @trinityriverphotocontest Instagram account. There appear to have been 218 entries. The total number of likes each photograph receives from October 19-30 will count as votes. That's a pretty foolproof method. The top 5 winners receive the People's Choice Award.
Judging takes place in November and the winners are announced in December.