A steady rise of coronavirus cases in Texas has forced Gov. Greg Abbott to pause his once-aggressive reopening of the state, reports NBC News. “The last thing we want to do as a state is go backwards and close down businesses," said Abbott's statement. "This temporary pause will help our state corral the spread until we can safely enter the next phase of opening our state for business." Abbott, who nine days ago boasted of his state's "abundant" hospital capacity, also ordered hospitals in the four of the biggest counties to put elective surgeries on hold, per NPR. Soon after, the Texas Medical Center in Houston announced that all of its ICU beds were occupied.
The governor urged "all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others." He did not, however, make masks mandatory, though various Texas cities have done so. Texas isn't the only state seeing a rise in cases, as Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, and Oklahoma also reported single-day records this week, reports the AP. US deaths have been dropping in recent weeks, though the fear is that those numbers will begin rising soon, reports the Washington Post. "Deaths always lag considerably behind cases," Dr. Anthony Fauci told a congressional panel this week. (Read more Texas stories.)