Texas Governor Says “If I Could Go Back and Redo Something, I Would Delay Reopening the Bars”

Like the number of people hospitalized in Texas since coronavirus exceeded 5,000 on Friday, Governor Greg Abbott He said he shouldn’t have been quick to reopen the bars. The news comes when Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said Friday that Texas is one of two states with the highest increase in positive cases of coronavirus since the country reported the highest increase in a single day in new cases.

“If I could go back and redo something, it would slow down the reopening of bars,” Abbott told ABC affiliate KIVA in El Paso. Abbott added that a “slash setup just doesn’t really work with a pandemic.”

“Right now, it is clear that the increase in cases is largely due to certain types of activities, including Texans who congregate in bars,” Abbott said in a press release on Friday that he announced he would close the bars.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said Friday that there has been a “paradigm shift” in new coronavirus cases that is largely driven by young people. Abbott has previously said people between the ages of 18-40 they are driving the rise of Texas.

A bartender with a face mask makes a drink at a restaurant in Austin, Texas on June 26, 2020.

SERGIO FLORES / AFP via Getty Images

The bars were first reopened in Texas on May 22 at 25% of capacity and then increased to 50% on June 3.

But as the number of new coronavirus cases in Texas hit record levels this week, Abbott rolled back part of the state’s reopening. Abbott issued an order on Friday that bars must be closed indefinitely and that restaurants, which were able to open to 75% of capacity, now had to reduce their capacity to 50%. Abbott told ABC affiliate KVUE in Austin that “if people don’t follow the rules, that could lead to a further reduction in Texas business openings.”

On Friday, there were 5,707 new cases of coronavirus in the state, according to the Texas Department of Public Health. It was a slight drop from the single-day record of 5,996 cases reported Thursday. The number of new cases has increased since May 26.

The number of people hospitalized has increased for 15 consecutive days as the state approaches its ICU capacity. As of Friday, 1,284 ICU beds were available, according to the Texas Department of Public Health. The number of people hospitalized increased to 5,102, the first time it exceeded 5,000.

In Houston, the state’s largest city, more than 10% of people who take the COVID-19 test are positive, according to Dr. David Persse of the Houston Department of Health, reports KHOU, a CBS affiliate. . That’s a 30% increase from three months ago.

West Alabama Ice House patrons have beers before Texas Governor Greg Abbotts orders all bars to close at noon today in Houston, Texas on June 26, 2020.

MARK FELIX / AFP / AFP via Getty Images

COVID-19 expert Dr. Peter Hotez warned that if current trends continue at this rate, Houston could see 4,000 new cases per day in mid-July, KHOU reported. The city has hovered between 800 and 1,000 new cases per day this week.

Texas and Arizona reported the largest increases in coronavirus cases, followed by Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Nevada and Utah, Birx said Friday. Vice President Mike Pence will visit Texas and Arizona next week.