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Customers sit outside on the patio at Eight Row Flint in Houston on May 22. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

Texas is pausing its phased economic reopening in an effort to battle the state's surging coronavirus outbreak, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) announced Thursday.

The state of play: Abbott said the move "will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase," but allowed businesses — including restaurants and bars — already open under the state's guidelines to remain in operation.

  • Texas reported a record number of coronavirus cases in a 24-hour span twice so far this week, per the state's health department.

The big picture: The news comes after Abbott also announced the state would again suspend elective surgeries in Harris, Dallas, Bexar and Travis counties, which include the cities of Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, respectively.

  • Houston's Texas Medical Center reported that 97% of intensive care beds were occupied as of Wednesday. 27% of those were coronavirus patients.
  • Abbott previously called for a ban on elective surgeries in March, before lifting it in April.

What he's saying: "As Texas faces a rise in COVID-19 cases, we are focused on both slowing the spread of this virus and maintaining sufficient hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients," Abbott said.

  • "These four counties have experienced significant increases in people being hospitalized due to COVID-19 and today’s action is a precautionary step to help ensure that the hospitals in these counties continue to have ample supply of available beds to treat COVID-19 patients."
  • "As we work to contain this virus, I urge all Texans to do their part to help contain the spread by washing their hands regularly, wearing a mask and practicing social distancing."

Go deeper

Airlines push for testing before takeoff to rekindle confidence in travel

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Global airlines are pushing for widespread coronavirus testing as an alternative to quarantine measures and other travel restrictions that have dampened passenger demand and decimated the industry.

Why it matters: Airline officials have pegged the industry's recovery to the discovery of a coronavirus vaccine, but it could be mid-2021 before one is widely available.

Biden says he received two COVID-19 tests before visiting Michigan

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Image

Joe Biden said he received two COVID-19 tests on Friday after news that President Trump and the First Lady have tested positive for the virus, and the former vice president's team cancelled one of its previously planned events for safety concerns.

Driving the news: "We wanted to make sure that we're doing everything by the numbers," Biden said during remarks on the economy in Grand Rapids, Mich. "And so I got to two COVID tests this morning. One in Delaware and one by the former White House doc who came up. Everything is clear, we wanted to make sure everything was cleared before I came."

The president is infected

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump, who had talked and acted like he was medically invincible, tweeted just before 1am that he and First Lady Melania Trump had tested positive for coronavirus.

Why it matters: The shocking announcement has personal, political, medical, financial and national security ramifications. Election Day is 32 days away. Markets hate uncertainty, and we now have the biggest X factor in the world.