As Cases Hit New Record, Texas Rules Out Lockdown

Governor says existing rules aren't being enforced
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2020 12:10 AM CST
As Virus Surges, Texas Rules Out Another Shutdown
Drivers wait in line at a United Memorial Medical Center COVID-19 testing site Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020, in Houston.   (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

As Texas shattered a single-day record with 12,000 new coronavirus cases reported Thursday, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ruled out another lockdown and accused local leaders of not enforcing existing restrictions. His rejection of a shutdown comes as other governors across the US take aggressive new steps to curb record-shattering spikes in COVID-19 cases that are pushing hospitals to the limit. Texas is on the verge of surpassing 8,000 hospitalized virus patients for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak, which Abbott met with orders that closed bars and limited restaurant occupancy, the AP reports. But during a visit to hard-hit Lubbock, where the local health authority says the fire department is building shelves for the dead as morgues run short on space, Abbott made clear Texas will not retreat to lockdown measures again.

"It is important for everybody in the state to know that, statewide, we're not going to have another shutdown," Abbott said. "There's an overestimation of exactly what a shutdown will achieve." He focused instead on the arrival of a new antibody drug similar to a treatment President Trump received after contracting the virus last month. But supply of the drug, called bamlanivimab, is scarce for now. Democrats blasted Abbott for not doing more and pointed out that the news conference was his first about the virus since September. "It didn’t have to be this way. The governor’s decision to wield absolute power in response to this crisis has failed," said state Rep. Chris Turner, the Democratic leader in the Texas House. Texas has had a statewide mask mandate since July, and restaurants and businesses continue to operate under reduced occupancy. (Most Californians will be under a curfew starting Saturday night.)

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