Governor Greg Abbott warns of shutting down economy if Texans flout mask order

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As Texas continues to break records for deaths and hospitalizations of new coronaviruses this week, Governor Greg Abbott reiterated Friday afternoon that things would continue to get worse. And if people continue to flout his new statewide mask mandate, he said, the next step could be another economic deadlock.

“Things will get worse and let me explain why,” he told KLBK TV in Lubbock. “The deaths we see announced today and yesterday – which are now over 100 – are people who likely contracted COVID-19 in late May.

“The worst is yet to come as we progress in this massive increase in the number of people tested positive. ”

Texans are likely to see an increase in cases next week, said Abbott, and people meeting his face mask requirement could be the only thing between the businesses left open and another stop.

“The public must understand that it was a very difficult decision for me to make,” Abbott told KLBK about his mandate as a face mask. “I made it clear that I made this difficult decision for one reason: it was our last effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. If we don’t slow down the spread of COVID-19… the next step should be to lock it out. ”

Abbott repeated this message several times in television interviews this week. But he stressed on Friday that another shutdown was not imminent and he highlighted the steps he has taken so far to reduce reopening in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including the order of mask and a requirement that the bars, once again, close their doors. It also tightened the capacity limits of restaurants.

Texas reported 100 more coronavirus deaths on Thursday, another record.

Abbott admitted on Friday afternoon in three live TV appearances that his mask order – that county Texans with more than 20 cases wear masks in public – was neither popular nor practical, but said that ‘It was important that everyone joined the effort. His appeal to the Texans comes as nearly 80 counties in Texas have withdrawn from the order, while others refuse to apply it.

“This is disappointing,” Abbott told CBS Tyler of government entities that challenge his mandate.

“I realize that a murderer, a rapist or a thief is much more serious in concentrating. However, I also know it: if we do not all come together and unite in this single cause for a short period of adopting masks, this will lead to the need to close Texas, “he said. “This should be the last thing any government wants.”

By Thursday afternoon, 2,918 Texas had died from COVID-19. The state has also reported nearly 10,000 new cases of the disease.

As of Thursday, nearly 9,700 people were in hospitals in Texas, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

With cases of viruses and related hospitalizations increasing at alarming rates, Abbott extended its ban on elective medical procedures on Thursday to cover more than 100 counties in much of the state. Friday afternoon, he also extended his disaster declaration for all Texas counties in response to COVID-19.

“If we can get people across the state … to wear face masks, we will be able to keep the state open,” Abbott said in an interview with KSAT. “We can reduce hospitalizations. But if this is not encouraged, if people do not adopt the best practice of wearing a face covering, this will lead to an increase in this rapid spread of COVID-19. ”

In a statement following Abbott’s talks, the Texas Democratic Party said any further halt would be Abbott’s fault.

“By reopening Texas prematurely, Abbott has put us all in danger of rising cases and a second shutdown,” said spokesman Abhi Rahman. “This is exactly what has happened so far. Abbott’s mismanagement of the coronavirus crisis has made Texas one of the most dangerous states to live in, has completely wiped out our economy, and shown the world how incompetent Trump and Abbott are. “

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