Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott at the Fountain of Praise church in Houston, Texas, June 8. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) urged Texans to stay home to fight the "rampant" spread of the coronavirus on Tuesday, warning in interviews with local outlets KRIS-TV and KBTX-TV that the state has reported an all-time high of over 5,400 new cases over the last 24 hours.
What he's saying: “First, we want to make sure that everyone reinforces the best safe practices of wearing a mask, hand sanitization, maintaining safe distance, but importantly, because the spread is so rampant right now, there’s never a reason for you to have to leave your home. Unless you do need to go out, the safest place for you is at your home,” Abbott told KBTX-TV.
- "There is an executive order already in place given (to) local authorities to put restrictions on crowds gathering over 500," Abbott told KRIS-TV when asked about mitigating infection spikes after Fourth of July gatherings.
- "We did see an increase after Memorial Day. We saw an increase in the early part of June. We need to make sure we have the flexibility to reduce crowds in ways that will reduce the spread of COVID-19," he said.
Flashback: Abbott said Monday that while the virus is spreading at an "unacceptable rate," another lockdown would only be considered as the "last option." On Tuesday, Abbott said the state may consider having to "ratchet back on the expansion of opening businesses" if the spread didn't slow, but added, "That’s the last thing that either I or those businesses want to do."
Between the lines: Earlier this month, officials in Houston — the epicenter of the outbreak in Texas — said that coronavirus spread in the city is uncontrolled and poses a significant threat to the community.
- "We don't have evidence that the public health measures we have in place are able to limit that community transmission," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said at a press conference.
- Texas' stay-at-home order, which lapsed on April 30, was one of the shortest in the country, per the New York Times.
Go deeper: COVID-19 sweeps the South