Galveston man says he fears COVID-19 more than Hurricane Laura

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Fearing the pandemic, some Galveston residents said they won't evacuate even though Hurricane Laura is expected to impact southeast Texas.

As of Tuesday evening, more than half a million people have been ordered to evacuate the Texas and Louisiana coasts ahead of Hurricane Laura.

It is the largest U.S. evacuation of the pandemic.

READ MORE: Trees down and power outages: What you may see and hear when Hurricane Laura makes landfall

Eyewitness News spoke with Reginald Cummings on Tuesday, who said he's seen his share of hurricanes, and so has his house.

His Galveston home survived the hurricane of 1900.

"I see people packing," Cummings said. "I see people leaving, and I see me staying, so that's a scary feeling."

READ MORE: Galveston mandatory evacuations in effect now ahead of Laura

Cummings plans to stay home because he's afraid of something bigger than Hurricane Laura: coronavirus.



While he's survived several hurricanes, he's never experienced a pandemic. "[I] don't want to be in the shelter," Cummings explained. "[I] don't want to be infected or infect anybody."

For many, COVID-19 is a major concern, but other Galveston residents fear the alternative. City leaders said the hurricane could produce a six-foot storm surge, and strong winds.

Because of this, people boarded homes, and after the city ordered an evacuation, they left.

Those who chose to stay won't only battle the storm. Once strong winds arrive, police said they won't respond to calls.

Cummings said he understands the risks, and he's hoping after 120 years, his home can continue to keep him safe.

"I just pray, and all will be well," he said.

Meanwhile, Galveston leaders are urging people to evacuate by Wednesday morning.

They said if people stay, emergency services might stop, but they will keep water, and electricity running for as long as possible.

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