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Texas Matters: The Great Coronavirus Shutdown Of 2020

Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at a press conference to address COVID-19 on March 22, 2020.
Screenshot
Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at a press conference to address COVID-19 on March 22, 2020.

With a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Texas and a dire prediction of overwhelmed hospitals – on Thursday March 19 Gov. Greg Abbott explained how quickly the situation was developing.

"We are doing this now, today, so that we can get back to business as usual more quickly," Abbott said.

Abbott announced that to slow the spread of the virus, new social distancing enforcements are now in place with an unprecedented emergency declaration.

"Working together, we must defeat COVID-19 with the only tool that we have available to us. We must strangle its expansion by reducing the ways that we are currently transmitting it," Abbott said at a press conference.

The emergency temporary closing of restaurants and bars in Texas is necessary to combat the social spread of COVID-19. But it is a heavy blow to a significant part of the state’s economy and for the workers who depend on the tips and paychecks they receive for their labors.

Emily Knight, the president of the Texas Restaurant Association, said their industry is looking to survive.

Also in that order; all schools in Texas must close. In-person classrooms are no longer a thing, at least for now. But online instruction is expected to ramp up. Which for many teachers in Texas, this is easier said than done. A big barrier is the digital divide and the lack of home access to computers and the internet for many students.

Zeph Capo is the president of Texas AFT – The Texas Federation of Teacher.

The virus continues to spread, more cases of Coronavirus are testing positive and a rising number of people are in need of medical care. Experts say soon our hospitals will be unable to treat the high number of patients. Nurses are being called on to rise up during this crisis.

Cindy Zelnierek president of the Texas Nurses Association said they are poorly equipped to deal with what’s coming because of the lack of facemasks, hospital gowns and other basics.

She said nurses don’t have the basics to deal with the pandemic, and hoarding is part of the problem, which is something many shoppers have faced recently while at the grocery store.

Texas Public Radio commentator Yvette Benavides tells us about her trip to the local super market – that was less than super. Benavides is a professor of English and creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University. She is the co-author of the book San Antonio 365 published by Trinity University Press.

David Martin Davies can be reached at DMDavies@TPR.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi.

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi