Texas governor says young people are driving coronavirus surge
Texas governor Greg Abbott said Tuesday that the state has seen an increase in coronavirus cases in people under 30. The state reached new highs in the number of new infections and the number of new hospital stays since the outbreak began on Tuesday.
According to the Texas Department of Health, 2,622 new cases of coronavirus were registered on Tuesday that exceeded the previous record of June 10. The state also had 2,518 new hospitalizations, the fifth consecutive day of record highs. The number of hospital stays has increased steadily since May 25, when 1,511 people were hospitalized.
"The majority of people who tested positive since early June were people under 30," Abbott said at a press conference. Abbott said the increase could be the result of Memorial Day gatherings or "bar settings."
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Texas advanced the third phase of its reopening on June 3. The bars may be 50% open and the restaurants 75% open. Abbott reiterated the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's warning that bars and restaurants would lose their license for 30 days if they did not follow the guidelines.
"We are in the middle of a short span of time in which we all have to coexist with COVID-19," said Abbott. "The reality is that COVID-19 still exists in Texas."
According to the Texas Tribune, data from many of the state's largest districts show an increase in the number of young people. The San Antonio Express News reported that more than half of the new cases in Bexar County are people under the age of 40.
"Younger people: they are not immune to it," warned Mayor of San Antonio, Ron Nirenberg, on Tuesday.
Abbott pointed to prisons as another driving force behind the rise.
Abbott said Tuesday that the state has an "abundant" supply of hospital beds. The state has over 54,000 hospital beds and almost 15,000 are free. Abbott said Texas was "laser focused" on keeping beds available.
While Abbott said he felt that companies had adjusted safe reopening strategies, he reminded the Texans that the best way to avoid coronavirus infection is to stay at home.
In the meantime, mayors from nine major Abbott metropolitan areas asked to allow cities to make masks mandatory, CBS Houston subsidiary KHOU-TV reported.
"While it is important to get our economy up and running again, we also need to take precautions to avoid a massive influx of new cases that overwhelm our hospitals," the mayor said in a letter to Abbott. "And if mayors are given the opportunity to request face cover, we believe that our cities are ready to help spread the disease. We believe you would agree that a healthy economy starts with healthy people."
The mayors said that many people refuse to wear masks. Mayors from the largest cities in Texas - Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth and El Paso - signed the letter. These cities have the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state.
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