“Only two states, Florida and Texas, account for one-third of all new COVID-19 cases nationwide. Only two states, ”Biden said.
The President was referring to the number of new cases of COVID-19 in Texas and Florida which have increased in recent days. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Texas, there were 64,753 new cases last week compared to 123,400 in Florida.
Republican governors in both states have pledged against new mitigation efforts such as universal masking, vaccination warrants or the implementation of closures that restrict businesses despite the highly transmissible delta variant of the virus which continues to rise .
Texas Governor Greg Abbott last week issued an executive order banning schools, governments and other jurisdictions from instituting mask warrants. This ordinance notably prevents school districts from creating mask policies in elementary schools where children under 11 are not yet eligible for the vaccine and have no other protection against the virus.
“Look, we need leadership from everyone. If some governors are unwilling to do what it takes to beat this pandemic, they should allow businesses and universities that want to do the right thing to be able to do it, ”Biden said.
“I say to these governors, please help. If you’re not at least helping, stay away from people who are trying to do the right thing. Use your power to save lives, ”Biden said.
Following the president’s remarks, NBC 5 reached out to Abbott’s office for a response. Abbott’s office responded and reiterated what it has been saying for days, that Biden’s border policies have created a crisis along the border where migrants come from countries that have low vaccinations and high numbers of cases. rather than mandating masks as a mitigation strategy against the spread of the same virus, the governor’s office says Texans must now rely on personal responsibility, not government, to beat the pandemic.
“Every Texan has the right to choose for himself and his children whether they will wear masks, open their business or get vaccinated,” Abbott said Tuesday. “Vaccines are the most effective defense against contracting COVID and becoming seriously ill, and we continue to urge all eligible Texans to get vaccinated. The COVID vaccine will always remain voluntary and never forced in Texas. “
Last week, three major hospital groups in Texas said they were requiring all their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Tyson Foods said on Tuesday they are also requiring all of their frontline workers to be vaccinated against the virus. Our Dallas Morning News partners report that Tyson has approximately 12,000 employees in Texas at more than a dozen facilities.
In defiance of Abbott’s executive order filed last week, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said on Friday that all city employees were required to wear masks indoors from Wednesday, regardless of their immunization status.
Meanwhile, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and 162nd Dallas County Judicial District Court Judge Maricela Moore have ordered mask warrants in county courthouses and Commissioners’ Court, citing a Texas Supreme Court order that says the judiciary has the power to “take reasonable steps to avoid exposing court proceedings and participants to the threat of COVID-19.” “
On Tuesday, Jenkins had his fellow County Commissioner JJ Koch escorted out of a commissioners court hearing by a bailiff for refusing to wear a mask.
Cases and hospitalizations continue to climb in Texas, Florida
In Texas on Tuesday, the State Department of Health Services reported that the number of hospitalizations increased by about 500 from Monday, bringing the current number of COVID-19 patients in the state to 7,305. That number includes 1,967 patients in intensive care units in Texas who are battling the virus. The DSHS also added more than 14,000 new confirmed and probable cases of the virus on Tuesday.
Cases and hospitalizations have risen so much in Florida that they are setting all-time highs in both categories, surpassing numbers achieved in previous waves of the virus.
On Tuesday, NBC 5 in Miami reported that the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Florida reached an all-time high of 11,515 patients, including 2,400 in intensive care. This number is approximately 1,200 more than the day before.
“We will not close, we will open schools, we protect the work of every Floridian,” Governor Ron DeSantis said during the press conference at the Shark Valley Visitor Center. “These interventions have failed repeatedly throughout this pandemic, not just in the United States but overseas. They haven’t stopped the spread and especially with the delta which is even more transmissible, if that hasn’t stopped it before, it’s definitely not going to stop it now. “