DALLAS (AP) — Both Vice President Mike Pence and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged Sunday that there has been a rapid rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the state in recent weeks after Abbott begin allowing businesses to start reopening in early May.
Abbott has also banned elective surgeries in the state’s largest counties, Dallas, Harris, Travis and Bexar.
The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the COVID-19 virus without feeling sick.
Pence praised Abbott for his decisions both to reopen the state, then to roll back the reopening plans.
“You flattened the curve here in Texas … but about two weeks ago something changed” and the number of positive confirmed cases have risen from about 2,000 cases a day to more than 5,000 a day. “With the development of these new cases, we’re grateful, Governor, you’ve taken the steps you’ve taken,” Pence said.
Pence also encouraged the wearing of face coverings in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
“Wear a mask, where ever it’s indicated or where ever you’re not able to practice the kind of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” said Pence, who along with Abbott wore face masks as they entered and left the room, taking them off while speaking to reporters.
Texas health officials on Sunday reported at least 148,728 confirmed coronavirus cases in the state and 2,393 deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, a jump of 5,347 cases and 27 additional deaths from numbers reported Saturday.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.