Texas Gov. Greg Abbott rebutted claims by those who say he is opening the state too quickly for business as we rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.
During an interview Tuesday with KRIS 6 Noon News, Abbott laid out plans of how he plans to gradually reopen the state after the pandemic.
"Decisions like this are based on the data we have, as well as input from doctor," Abbott said. "We have (some) of the best doctors who are advising us about this including a former head of the FDA, a former head of the Medicaid and Medicare for the U.S., an infectious disease specialist in charge of tracking and tracing COVID-19, so we have great advice from these doctors about whether or not we can open up and if so, what types of strategies can be used in terms of opening up.
"It's clear that the high point of the number of people tested in Texas was on April 9. We've had a downward sloping trend about that, but also more importantly, we continue in Texas to have a very low death rate ... a very low hospitalization rate when you compare ourselves to some of the other states. So if you look at these safety metrics about how safe things are in the state of Texas, compared to other states, they are looking good."
Because of those numbers, Abbott said the state's return to business readiness should be forthcoming.
"There's no reason on us to put a lockdown on our economy, however we must open up very safely," Abbott said. "And that's why the standards that were recommended by the doctors were at this particularly time in Phase 1 to open up things like restaurants, all retail stores, malls, movies, museums only at 25 percent capacity.
"If we can show we can do this for two weeks, then we can expand that capacity to say 50 percent. So this is a gradual slow process that we continue to follow the data and listen to the advice of good doctors."
Other questions the governor discussed during his interview with KRIS 6 Noon Anchor Mike Gillaspia included:
- What convinced him that now is the right time for Phase 1 of his plan?
- Hair salons and barber shops, what will be different for them on May 18 as opposed to Friday?
- Camps are a big part of summer and you mentioned that work is being done to try to figure out that piece of the puzzle?
- Where do we stand in terms of expanded testing for our state?
- You emphasized that re-opening is allowed, but not required. What's the thought behind that?
- And what can you say to offer hope to those who have lost their jobs during this unforeseen crisis?