Texas was one of the first states to reopen. Now it's seeing record numbers of the coronavirus and its Republican governor is urging people to stay home.
People driving past murals painted on planks cover the bar windows on 6th Street on May 20 in Austin, Texas.
Tom Pennington / Getty Images
Governor Greg Abbott urged Texas residents to stay at home as possible as the number of new coronavirus cases in the state reached record highs on Tuesday.
On Tuesday evening, the Texas Department of Health reported 5,489 new cases, most in the state.
"People need to recognize that the virus is spreading very quickly and there is no vaccine for it," Abbott told local TV station KRIS-TV.
Texas was one of the first states to introduce a schedule to lift its coronavirus restrictions. It also enforced one of the shortest lock orders in the country.
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Governor Greg Abbott urged Texas residents to stay at home as possible as the number of new cases in the state reached record highs on Tuesday.
The cases in Texas have increased steadily in the past few weeks. On Tuesday evening, the Texas Department of Health reported 5,489 new cases, most in the state.
"Texas will have an all-time high in the number of positive tests of more than 5,000 people," Abbott told local television broadcaster KBTX. "The hospitalization rate is higher than ever. Coronavirus is spreading across Brazos County and across the state of Texas, which is why action is being taken."
He told the broadcaster that despite the state's loose social detachment measures, residents were advised to stay at home.
"We want to make sure that everyone reinforces the best safety practices for wearing a mask, disinfecting hands, and keeping a safe distance. However, since the spread is happening so quickly, there is no reason for you to leave home unless you do have to get out, "he said. "The safest place for you is in your home."
In another interview with local KRIS-TV on Tuesday, Abbott repeated the severity of the virus's spread and urged the Texans to take precautions seriously.
"People have to recognize that it is a very rapidly spreading virus and there is no vaccine for it," he told the station. He admitted that the state saw an increase in coronavirus cases after Memorial Day and early June.
The current state guidelines, which were updated on June 3, urge people not to gather in groups of more than 10 people and to wear face coverings in public.
Texas was one of the first states to introduce a schedule to lift its coronavirus restrictions. It also enforced one of the shortest lock orders in the United States.
Abbott issued a nationwide order to stay at home on March 31. it expired on April 30 and was not renewed. Retail stores, restaurants, movies, and shopping malls were allowed to reopen on May 1 with limited capacity, and larger entertainment venues were reopened with a 50% capacity on June 12.
And while the Republican governor initially opposed the implementation of a nationwide protection order, he later privately admitted to the lawmaker that reopening state-owned companies would lead to an increase in coronavirus infections.
"The more people out there, the greater the possibility of broadcasting," Abbott said during the call, according to The Daily Beast. "The goal was never to bring the broadcast to zero."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas has registered 114,881 cases since the outbreak began on Tuesday - the fifth most common of all states. And even as the number of cases increases in Texas, the federal government cuts funding and support for seven local test locations in the state, according to a Talking Points Memo report.
Despite the worrying surge in cases, Abbott said at a press conference on Monday that reintroducing a nationwide ban would be the last resort.
"COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas and it needs to be corrected," Abbott said. "Closing Texas will always be the last option."
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