Texas Gov Gives Mixed Messages Amid COVID Spike

The Dallas News reports:

Gov. Greg Abbott sternly warned Texans of “rampant” spread of coronavirus that took the state to a new high Tuesday of more than 5,000 new cases in a single day. Saying Texans should stay home unless they have a good reason to venture out, Abbott late Tuesday afternoon gave local officials more powers to limit public gatherings during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend.

He expanded the ability of mayors and county judges to restrict outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people — down from the previous limit of more than 500 people in outdoor gatherings. “I urge all Texans to do everything in their power to reduce the transmission of the coronavirus by wearing a face mask, washing their hands often and staying six feet apart from others,” Abbott said in a written statement.

The Texas Tribune reports:

Abbott faced questioning over the apparent mixed messaging of pressing forward with the state’s reopening while asking Texans to remain at home. Abbott defended the state’s continued reopening.

“Remember this, and that is there are some countries in the world that have hardly any cases at all,” Abbott told KRIV-TV in Houston. “Taiwan is an example where people are very efficient at wearing face masks but yet able go to work. And so what we have found is we do have the ability to have people to return to work as long as the safe practices are used.”

Abbott has been criticized in recent days for continuing to urge Texans to wear face masks in public while prohibiting local officials from fining people who don’t wear them. Abbott has allowed local leaders to mandate that businesses require customers to wear masks.