Texas Governor: Coronavirus Spreading at ‘Unacceptable Rate’ in State

Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks at the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Texas, May 4, 2018. (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

Governor Greg Abbott warned Monday that the coronavirus is now spreading in Texas at an “unacceptable rate” and pleaded with residents to wear masks in public and continue practicing social distancing.

“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas, and it must be corralled,” Abbott said at a news briefing.

Texas has seen more than 25,000 new coronavirus cases over the past week and on Friday recorded a one-day record of 4,600 new positive cases. The spike in cases comes after Texas allowed businesses to reopen at 75 percent capacity earlier this month.

Abbott urged the public to take precautions against spreading the virus, even as people return to work and frequent public places. He did not, however, announce any new social distancing rules.

“Wearing a mask will help us to keep Texas open. Not taking action to slow the spread will cause COVID to spread even worse, risking people’s lives, and ultimately, leading to the closure of more businesses,” Abbott said.

“The way hospitalizations are spiking, the way that daily new cases are spiking — surely the public can understand that if those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary to make sure we maintain the health and safety of the people of the state of Texas,” the governor added.

Texas has averaged more than 3,200 daily coronavirus hospitalizations over the last several days, a sharp increase from the latter half of May, when about 1,600 people were hospitalized daily for the virus. Abbott suggested that if those numbers double again, the state may reimpose social distancing restrictions.

“If we were to experience another doubling of those numbers over the next month, that would mean we’re in an urgent situation where tougher actions will be required to make sure that we do contain the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said.

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