COVID In Texas: New Cases Surge, Reopenings Halted, Polls Open In A Pandemic
Coronavirus continues to run rampant across Texas, with six consecutive days of more than 5,000 new cases reported Sunday. A total of 148,723 Texans have been diagnosed and 2,393 have died so far of complications from COVID-19.
State leaders began a phased reopening of businesses in May, making it one of the first to do so after being one of the last to shut down. Almost all Texas businesses were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity in early June. In the weeks since, Texas has become one of the nation’s hot spots for coronavirus infections. Bexar County officials also reported its largest single-day increase of 735 new cases on Saturday.
Hospitalizations in Texas increased dramatically in June, as well. To help with health care system capacity, Gov. Abbott suspended elective surgeries last week. To help prevent transmission, he paused other reopenings, reduced restaurant dine-in capacity to 50% and ordered bars to close again, admitting this weekend that the "bar setting, in reality, just doesn't work with a pandemic."
Are these measures enough to mitigate the current uptick in viral case numbers and fatalities? How else is state leadership responding to the recent spike? What's the likelihood of a statewide mask mandate?
What do we know now about how the novel coronavirus is transmitted? What are the most high-risk situations and most effective protective measures? Who is most at risk and why?
Monday is the first day of early voting for Texas primary runoff elections. What's the latest on Texas' mail-in voting controversy? What safety measures have been implemented at polling places? What else can those voting in person do to stay healthy amid the outbreak?
- Dr. Jan Patterson, infectious disease specialist in the Long School of Medicine at UT Health San Antonio
- Gilbert Garcia, metro columnist for the San Antonio Express-News
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*This interview was recorded on Monday, June 29.
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