Texas, which began to open its businesses at the beginning of May, has reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 for five consecutive days as the state struggles to curb the coronavirus pandemic.
According to data from the Texas Department of State Health Services, 1,179 new cases were reported on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the Lone Star State to 41,048.
Since Gov. Greg Abbott (R) allowed some businesses to resume operations on May 1, Texas has only been below 1,000 new cases per day twice — on May 4 and May 7.
On Tuesday, Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top public health officials, appeared before the Senate Health Committee and warned that states who reopen their economies too quickly could see new outbreaks of the disease that could result in “needless suffering and death.”
“The consequences could be really serious,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the committee.
Fauci stressed that states follow the reopening guidelines released by the White House, specifically citing that states should see a 14-day consecutive decline in daily new COVID-19 cases before beginning to reopen. Texas has failed to reach that benchmark.
Also on Tuesday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) warned cities to not enforce stricter coronavirus restrictions than those the state government has mandated during the state's first reopening phase, which Abbott has slated to run through May 18.
“Unfortunately, a few Texas counties and cities seem to have confused recommendations with requirements and have grossly exceeded state law to impose their own will on private citizens and businesses. These letters seek to avoid any public confusion as we reopen the state,” Paxton said in a statement. “I trust that local officials will act quickly to correct any orders that unlawfully conflict with Texas law and Governor Abbott’s Executive Orders.”
Paxton added that Abbott's executive order detailing a phased reopening supersedes any stay-at-home order issued by a city or municipality government.
More than 1,100 Texans have died from the virus during the pandemic.