Texans Can’t Trust Greg Abbott on Coronavirus

Abbott is gambling with Texans’ Lives and livelihoods, acting against his own medical advice and guidelines.
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This week, Texans have been exposed to unnecessary risk by Governor Greg Abbott, and most observers agree — his leadership is misguided. Texans want to be back at work and see our economy up and running. They aren’t reckless, however. A majority of us overwhelmingly approve of business closure and stay-at-home orders while Abbott pushes the state down a dangerous and uncertain path.

As Texans see the highest daily COVID-19 death increase so far in the pandemic and Parkland Hospital in Dallas faces a steady uptick in cases, Abbott allowed early dithering and indecision to box him into implementing a plan delivered to him by the inept Trump administration.

Abbott’s failure to lead has left Texans as living science experiments in a rushed attempt to appear in control, all to please both the White House and his radical political base.

Abbott is ignoring medical guidelines

The Texas Tribune points out clearly where Abbott has fallen short. Medical experts, including Abbott’s own senior public health adviser, former FDA commissioner Mark McCellan, have cautioned against the actions Abbott has decided to take.

“Public health experts want the daily infection rate to remain below 6%. It has averaged just over that threshold during the past week in Texas…”

“Texas appears to be skipping ahead on White House guidance that says states should wait to begin their reopening process until they see a 14-day downward trajectory in new cases or the infection rate. Texas has not met either of those criteria, especially the former.”

“Doctors and data” disagree with Abbott

Texas Monthly highlighted Abbott’s lack of logic in his dangerous gamble:

But there’s also no data that tells us that right now is the time to begin lifting the lockdown. The uptick is a reminder that, as the state is set to open up, nothing about our ability to contain or control the spread of COVID-19 in Texas has changed since lockdown orders began in cities across the state in mid-March. There’s still no treatment that has proved effective. There’s still no vaccine. And Texas still conducts far fewer than the more than 40,000 daily tests experts suggest would, with a robust contact-tracing effort, be adequate to contain the spread of the virus.”

Texas isn’t ready, and everyone but Abbott can see it

People from across the state are responding to Abbott’s decision and showing more common sense than the governor. It’s clear Texans want to know at some basic level whether or not it is safe yet and whether we have a handle on navigating the situation. They understand that businesses are only going to be successful if customers are confident they can go there safely.

An informal poll today from a local news station suggested that people will not be rushing to stores:

A group of North Houston pastors came out this week against Abbott’s misguided leadership and said the choice is between morals and money:

Erica Grieder writes in the Houston Chronicle that a lag in testing should make Texans concerned about Abbott’s plan. She interviewed a small-business owner who says what most Texans are thinking:

“A lot of people haven’t been tested. The people that are infected that don’t show symptoms are gonna start mingling with people that are more susceptible to the virus.”
– Richard Cano, Owner of XTerminator Pest Control

Abbott’s Trump-like lies and deceptions

While the president famously suggested Americans should drink disinfectant, Abbott has been out on local media stations painting a picture that is simply not accurate. Veteran journalist R.G. Ratcliffe pointed out:

‘During a round of radio interviews last week, Abbott said that a cure for COVID-19 will be available by the time the new school year begins in the fall. “Once we have an immunization we will be fully back to normal, but an immunization will not be in existence when the next school year begins,” Abbott told WBAP radio. “There will however be medicines you can take that will basically cure people who have COVID-19.” Abbott did not cite any evidence for this prediction, which is not supported by any of the leading experts on the virus.’

Abbott’s miscalculations aren’t just going to put urban areas at risk. Rural Texas—with its diminished access to proper healthcare facilities and aging population—is also at risk. Even some rural GOP county judges can’t seem to get help from Abbott.

Abbott should listen to local leaders

Cities and counties implemented social distancing strategies because that was the only line of defense for stopping the deadly virus from killing hundreds of thousands more Americans. They did so ahead of any actions taken by Greg Abbott.

These responsible actions are now threatened by a governor who continues to be caught between medical advisers and pollsters. There are no therapeutics and there is no vaccine. The threat of the disease to overwhelm our healthcare system is grave.

And while the GOP has made it clear it intends to continue to wage its war on cities and counties, local leaders like Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo are focused on installing Strike Teams to care for Nursing Home residents and staff. And in North Texas, no matter what Abbott may say, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins has vowed to make decisions guided by science.

Abbott would do well to go back to taking cues from those Democratic leaders who are focused on real solutions to the pandemic.

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