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Photo: Sergio Flores/AFP/Getty Images

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, "If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars," as he observes the "aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread..." in a radio interview on Friday cited by The Texas Tribune.

Why it matters: Texas has seen a recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases as the state moved toward reopening, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Abbott allowed bars to reopen starting May 22, at 25% indoor capacity. His shift in tone could be one of many as other states also experience case count spikes and a possible second wave.

  • The uptick in cases prompted Abbott to announce on Friday that all bars in Texas will close and restaurants must decrease capacity from 75% to 50%.
  • There are over 140,000 confirmed cases in Texas, per Johns Hopkins University.
  • Still, Abbott has not implemented a statewide mask mandate.

What he's saying: Abbott said a "bar setting, in reality, just doesn't work with a pandemic," adding that people "go to bars to get close and to drink and to socialize, and that's the kind of thing that stokes the spread of the coronavirus."

The other side: Bar owners in Texas have expressed concern over the safety of their employees and how their businesses will fare amid the COVID-19 fallout, AP reports.

  • Sean Kennedy, a spokesperson for the National Restaurant Association, said his organization told officials that the hospitality industry is “just looking for consistency, transparency and forward-looking rules.”

Go deeper

Oct 4, 2020 - Health

New York City mayor plans to shut down areas hardest hit by COVID-19

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday a plan to close nonessential businesses and schools in nine zip codes in Brooklyn and Queens, NBC New York reports.

Why it matters: It will mark the first time the city has backpedaled on reopening since the spring, when New York was the epicenter of the virus.

Updated Oct 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trumpworld coronavirus tracker

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

An outbreak of COVID-19 has struck the White House — including the president himself — just weeks before the 2020 election.

Why it matters: If the president can get infected, anyone can. And the scramble to figure out the scope of this outbreak is a high-profile, high-stakes microcosm of America's larger failures to contain the virus and to stand up a contact-tracing system that can respond to new cases before they have a chance to become outbreaks.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — New York Supreme Court grants stay for indoor mask mandate.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker