Texas saw a record-breaking 5,000 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, June 23, marking yet another grim milestone in the pandemic. As new infections soar, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is urging residents to stay home.
"Because the spread is so rampant right now, there is never a reason for you to have to leave your home," Abbott told KBTX in Bryan. "Unless you need to go out, the safest place for you to be is your home."
Though Texas is about to hit 118,000 coronavirus cases, the fourth highest among U.S. states, Abbott has said closing down Texas is a last resort. Instead, he said in his interview with KBTX, the state will continue to educate and reenforce the importance of maintaining six feet of distance, wearing masks, and washing hands.
"The first obligation that we have is to make sure people around the state really comprehend the magnitude of the challenge we're dealing with. There remain a lot of people in the state of Texas who think that the spread of COVID-19 is really not a challenge," he said during the eight-minute interview. "Today, Texas will report an all-time high of people testing positive."
"The coronavirus is serious, it's spreading in Brazos County [and] across the entire state of Texas."
Abbott noted that part of this education is the increase of enforcement around the state of Texas, citing Texas Alcoholic Beverages Commission's weekend sting that temporarily stripped 17 Texas bars of their liquor licenses, including four in Austin.
The governor's message comes less than 24 hours after a June 22 press conference in which Abbott wore a face mask and acknowledged that they are helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19.
He did not, however, go so far as to issue a statewide mandate requiring residents to wear them. Instead, he's largely left that to cities, including Austin, which recently made face masks mandatory in all businesses, restaurants, and shops.