AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas struck a third consecutive day with more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday as the state charged in its first weekend of reopening the economy with residents allowed to return to the shopping centers, restaurants, cinemas and retail stores in limited numbers.
State health officials have reported 1,293 new cases, the second rate of infection in a single day, marking the first time that Texas has recorded more than 1,000 consecutive days.
Authorities also reported 31 new deaths, the first time Texas has passed 30 in four consecutive days, although deaths have declined for the second consecutive day after a peak of 50 deaths on Friday.
The numbers come just as the Greg Abbott government’s “stay at home” order for nearly 30 million people expired on Friday and buyers began to return to stores and restaurants.
Abbott’s office said the number of cases diagnosed should increase as the state accelerates testing. With 29,074 new tests reported on Saturday, the state is close to the 30,000 a day that Abbott said it was necessary to keep tabs on the spread of the virus.
Counties with fewer than five active cases of COVID-19 can reopen businesses to 50% of their capacity, but the majority of Texans live in places where capacity is currently limited to 25%. Abbott wants to loosen the restrictions further, including allowing the reopening of hair salons and gyms, with a target in mid-May, but health experts have expressed concern about moving too quickly.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which go away within two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and people with existing health problems, this can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia.
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