COVID-19 In Texas Setting Records, Abbott Says TX Remains OPEN

Governor Abbott at press conference June 22
Governor Abbott discusses increase in COVID-19 cases in Texas. Photo by Office of Governor 6-22-2020

COVID-19 Is Spreading At An Unacceptable Rate in Texas

When Governor Abbott introduced his plans and phases to reopen Texas he emphasized the plans and phases would be driven by the data and advice from medical doctors. Yet today, at the Governor’s press conference he said, “COVID-19 is spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas.” The solution offered did not include a mandate for masks or plans to slow the reopening of Texas. Instead, Abbott urged Texans to wear masks, use hand sanitizer, stay home when possible and maintain six feet from others.

One of the metrics Governor Abbott’s team is measuring is the positivity rate, which is up to 9%. Another metric-hospitalizations- the state has reported 10 consecutive days of record-high hospitalizations. While the increasing numbers might be alarming to some, the Governor continued to emphasize Texas currently has “abundant hospital capacity.”

What is Texas doing to slow the spread of COVID-19?

The Governor discussed several steps the state is taking to mitigate the spread of the virus in recent weeks—including increasing enforcement of health and safety regulations, rapidly increasing testing in hot spots, and working with hospitals throughout the state to ensure they have the ability to treat Texans who test positive for COVID-19.

“We don’t have to choose between jobs and health We can have both. We can protect Texans lives while also restoring their livelihoods,” Abbott said. “Together we can keep Texans safe. Together we can keep Texas wide open for business.”

As to those Texans that push back on wearing a mask, Abbott said, “I know that some people feel that wearing a mask is inconvenient or is like an infringement of freedom, but I also know that wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open.”

Texas House Democratic Caucus (HDC) Chair Chris Turner issued the following statement in response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s June 22 press conference discussing the latest numbers:

“Today, Gov. Abbott did a good job describing the COVID-19 crisis: Texas is seeing skyrocketing cases, rising hospitalizations and a doubling of our positivity rate. He set the stage to finally take much-needed strong and decisive action — and then, predictably, backed away without doing anything.

“A month ago, we warned that Gov. Abbott was advancing with his Open Texas plan too quickly. Even then, the data showed that we needed to slow down the reopening, not accelerate through it. But he moved forward, despite the warning signs.

“Texans elected the governor to lead, especially in a time of crisis. By refusing to take action and choosing instead to be a passive onlooker as this situation worsens, Governor Abbott is failing Texans.”

Meanwhile medical experts in Texas warn, new cases and hospitalizations will increase by approximately 20% over the next two weeks. This prediction is based on a model by UT Southwestern. Leaving many Texans to wonder, what did the Governor mean when he said future decisions about business reopenings would be contingent on whether the infection rate —“stays flat or decreases.” How will the 4th of July holiday impact our current infection rate? And, will it really be safe for schools to reopen in August?