Vice President Mike Pence promised additional resources and evidence Sunday after Texas Governor Greg Abbott described “the very fast and very dangerous turnaround” of the coronavirus.
Pence had canceled appearances in Florida and Arizona, as each state has seen a sharp increase in new coronavirus cases. However, a Pence representative said the vice president was still planning to travel to Texas, Florida and Arizona to meet with the governors.
“President Trump wanted us to be here today with developments in the past two weeks with the growing positivity and the growing number of cases with a very simple message and that is to use the people of Texas: We are with you,” Pence said during a press conference with Abbott on Sunday.
Pence emphasized that citizens should “wear a mask,” and emphasized that experience has shown that wearing them “will reduce the spread.”
The governor described how two weeks ago something changed and the virus took a “very fast and very dangerous turn.”
On Friday, federal officials announced that funding for the test sites would be extended for 14 days. Abbott said that would now extend “as long as Texas wants us to do it.”
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Dr. Deborah Birx, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said Texas had a good reopening plan, but that the increase had derailed it.
“It was a very serious and safe opening plan and you can see the impact of the opening plan and how it worked,” said Birx. “All May, for almost five weeks, and then there was a turning point. What we are seeing here is a higher hospitalization rate for people 20 to 40 years old. “
Abbott had already taken steps, closing bars on Friday and resuming certain closing restrictions, such as reducing restaurant capacity to just 50 percent.
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Texas has seen several days of record highs, seeing more than 5,000 new cases each day, with 5,747 new cases on June 27.
Overall, Texas has confirmed about 149,000 cases, as well as more than 2,300 deaths.