Eric Gay / AP
Texas Gouv. Greg Abbott announced on Tuesday the highest state of the new COVID-19 case: 2,622.
He also reported a second record: 2,518 people hospitalized with the virus in Texas, from 2,326 a day earlier.
Despite the slight increase in the number of people sick with the virus, Abbott said the reason for his press conference is to let Texans know about the “abundant” hospitalization capacity for treating people with COVID-19. He and other officials spent much of the briefing claiming the hospital’s state of bed availability.
Unveiling the new record for the number of hospitalizations related to COVID-19, Abbott pointed out that the figure is “really a very small percentage of all beds are available. ”
Texas has so far been spared from the top the number of cases in other highly populated states. While it is the second largest state in the population, Texas is currently ranked sixth in terms of cumulative case numbers.
Before dropping the number of new cases, Abbott delved into what he said represented the previous high daily on June 10, which had nearly 2,504 new cases. The governor said the spike could be largely attributed to 520 positive tests from inmates in Texas jails both reported as well as a data error in a rural department.
He said there are also reasons why Tuesday’s new case count was so high: test results from a living home near Plano, a county in south Austin, where the positive cases appeared to be reported in batches, and of 104 cases in one East Texas, county that appear to be mainly from tests at a prison.
But he also pointed out that uncareful behavior may be a driver in some of the new cases. Abbott said there were a number of counties where a majority of those who tested positive for the coronavirus were under the age of 30, which he attributed to people who go “out of the bar” ‘settings or Memorial type of Day celebrations and not to take health precautions.
Abbott said that measures such as wearing masks, hand sanitizing and social distance allow us to reopen the state economy.
Dr. John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the Texas State Department of Health Services, was struck by the same note.
“The message is that we are seeing an increase in the number of COVID patients in the state. We expected this, “he said. “But we see it happening at a manageable level. I really want to emphasize that the success belongs to those of the state of Texas. ”
Despite Abbott emphasizing the importance of masks, he has barred Texas cities from implementing all of the rules that would require face coatings.
Abbott signed an April 27 decree which said that while individuals are encouraged to wear masks, “no administration can impose civil or criminal sanctions for failing to wear face covers.” ”
On Tuesday, the mayors of nine Texas cities – including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth and El Paso, sent a letter to the governor asking the authority to set rules and regulations for the use of face coatings.
“One-size-fits-all approach is not the best option. We need to trust local authorities to make informed choices about health policy. And if mayors have the option to demand that face coatings, we believe our cities will be ready to help reduce the spread of this disease, “they wrote. “If you don’t have plans to mandate statewide face coatings, we ask that you reinstate the possibility for local authorities to enforce the wearing of face coatings in public places where the distance cannot be practiced. ”
Abbott said Tuesday that local judges and officials have other law enforcement tools such as fines for rallies that do not track the status of the protocols.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler extended a stay-at-home warning on Monday amid the news of the rising cases – but this warning could only be advice to residents, not an order in reason for the rule of law of preemption.
“People are confused,” Adler told NPR Steve Inskeep on Tuesday. “They don’t know at this point, if it’s really important to wear face coverings or not, because I think they feel like they’re messing around with messaging – not just from management state, but from the national direction. So we just aren’t getting the vigilance that we need for these efforts. ”
In Austin, Adler says, you will see most everyone wearing a mask in grocery stores, but not in restaurants and music clubs: “When we started opening up the economy and when the governor took over cities of the possibility of making it mandatory, more and more people stopped wearing them. ”
Adler agrees with Abbott that face coatings are the key to reopening parts of the economy, even if they are unpleasant for wearers.
“I know it’s embarrassing. I know it’s hot. I know it’s a nuisance, “Adler said. “And it’s hard to do, and people don’t like it. But at the same time, our community must decide how much we value the lives of people in our community over the age of 65 and over. We have to decide how much we value the life of communities of color who are suffering disproportionately as a result of this virus. “