An Official From This State Has Admitted "We Opened Too Quickly"
It was one of the first states to reopen. Now, spiking cases show lockdown was ended too soon.
It was nearly two months ago, on May 1, when lockdown orders were lifted and businesses began reopening in this state—and while it wasn't the first to do so, it was right up there at the front of the pack. Now, seven weeks later, the situation in Texas has escalated to a state of emergency, as new cases continue to rise and hospitals approach capacity. Until this moment, most Texas lawmakers had been hesitant to entertain the idea that recent weeks of consistently rising case numbers may be the result of opening too early and too aggressively. But, with Texas currently one of the epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic, the theory can no longer be ignored.
In a press briefing on June 28, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said that the outbreak has taken a "very swift and a very dangerous turn in Texas over just the past few weeks." During that time, Abbot added that "the daily number of cases have gone from an average of about 2,000 to more than 5,000."
Two days before making these comments, Abbott issued an executive order on the morning of June 26, limiting all bars to delivery and takeout services only, and reducing indoor restaurant seating from 75 percent to 50 percent capacity. According to one elected official in Houston, where the outbreak has been particularly bad, the executive order merely reinstated regulations that should have never been removed in the first place.
"The harsh truth is that our current infection rate is on pace to overwhelm our hospitals in the very near future," Harris county judge, Lina Hidalgo, said at a press conference on Friday, The Guardian reported. "We opened too quickly."
According to the latest numbers from the Texas Health and Human Services Department, there are 148,723 reported cases of COVID-19 in Texas. Nearly 6,000 of those being recent, as the state reported 5,996 new cases on June 25, its highest daily case count since the pandemic began. And for more on another COVID-19 epicenter, check out Florida Has This One "Silver Lining" Amid Soaring Coronavirus Cases.