The state of Texas has set a new record for positive coronavirus infections and hospitalizations almost every day for the past two weeks and pressure is mounting on Governor Greg Abbot to do something about it, but he's not quite there yet.
Abbott spoke to the press on Monday and said he might take action if their numbers to continue to double over the next month and yesterday evening, after reporting another new record, Abbott urged to people to stay home.
There's no reason to go out, he said.
“We want to make sure everyone reinforces the best safe practices of wearing a mask, hand sanitation, maintaining safe distance, but importantly, because the spread is so rapid right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you need to go out,” Abbott said. “The safest place for you is at your home.”
This is all good advice but the problem is it's not policy. Abbott's policies are the exact opposite of this.
You're probably aware that Abbott signed an executive order that prohibits cities from imposing their own requirements for wearing a mask in public, but what you may not know is that Texas is among the states that will revoke your unemployment benefits if you do not return to work now.
The state's policy has a few exceptions of course; such as the exception for people who are at high risk of death -- but that leaves the vast majority of people with little choice. There's "never a reason for you to have to leave your home," Abbott says, except they've made it necessary for most people.
Beyond the policy, the GOP lawmakers who control Texas have set bad examples. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick infamously said that sacrificing your grandmother is better than sacrificing the economy. Almost every Republican you can stick in front of a camera including Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have made a point of never wearing masks and that example filters down to their voters in the base of the party. And it addition to never practicing what they preach, Republican lawmakers have repeatedly urged people to go out and spend their money. You know, so Trump might get reelected. We need to get those stocks up!
The rapid spread of the virus is not an act of nature at this point. It's a result of bad decisions on the part of humans.
Florida set another record with an additional 5,500 cases reported this morning and California set a record with over 6,000.
New York was once the epicenter of the outbreak, but Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this morning that people traveling from these high risk states will have to quarantine for 14 days when they enter New York.