It looks like the COVID-19 virus is forcing state officials to go back into more of a precaution mode.
After being one of the nation’s leading states in opening back up following a near three-month shut-down, Gov. Greg Abbott instructed bar owners across the state to close and a scaled-back plan for restaurants Friday, even though numbers here in East Texas aren’t nearly the numbers, of course, that are in most of the state’s metropolitan areas.
“It is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Gov. Abbott said Friday, according to the Associated Press. “The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”
Also according to the AP report, In addition to scaling back restaurant capacity, Abbott shut down rafting operations and said any outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people will need approval from the local government. The move came as the number of patients at Texas hospitals statewide more than doubled in two weeks.
Texas reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the past three days, with a record high of nearly 6,000 on Thursday. The day’s tally of over 4,700 hospitalizations was also a record.
Abbott joined the small but growing number of governors either backtracking or putting any further re-openings on hold.
The number of confirmed cases in the U.S. per day soared past the previous high of 36,400, set on April 24, during one of the deadliest stretches in the crisis so far, according to the count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The average number of new cases per day has risen about 60 percent over the past two weeks, according to an Associated Press analysis.
As of this writing on Friday afternoon, the virus is blamed for 124,000 deaths in the U.S. and 2.4 million confirmed infections nationwide, by Johns Hopkins’ count. Worldwide, the virus has claimed close to a half-million lives, according to Johns Hopkins.