With COVID Surging To Stage 5, Abbott’s Executive Order is A Death Warrant for Texans

AUSTIN, Texas — Over the weekend, Texas logged grim statistics as the delta variant continues to sweep communities across the state. On Friday, Texas passed New York to become the state with the second-most COVID deaths

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Houston Chronicle reported that a surge in Houston COVID-19 hospitalizations is growing as fast as at any point during the pandemic so far, and is projected to pass previous records by mid-August. Travis County hospitals are also once again nearing capacity as ICU beds fill up, with the Austin Health Department reporting only nine ICU beds available in a region serving 2.3 million people — and Travis County jumped to the Stage 5 threshold after moving from Stage 3 to Stage 4 only a week earlier. New reports also emerged of pregnant people being increasingly hospitalized with the delta variant in the Austin area, with high risk of complications. Nationally, the outlook is equally grim, with over 100,000 new COVID cases recorded in the U.S. in just 24 hours over the weekend — the most since February. And all of this as school is set to resume over the next few weeks. 

In the face of these dangerous developments, disgraced Gov. Greg Abbott is all but guaranteeing further suffering for Texas communities. Last week, Abbott signed an executive order blocking local officials from putting precautions in place in their cities — an order which he has not rescinded despite escalating COVID numbers across the state. This undercutting of local leaders’ abilities to keep their communities safe flies in the face of logic, decency, and compassion — in yet another example of government overreach from the party that prides itself on small government. By stripping Texas communities of their power to put protections in place for themselves, Abbott is putting the lives of millions of people in danger.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa issued the following statement:

“Greg Abbott has gone too far in his refusal to protect Texas citizens. Over 53,000 Texans have died, and many are in critical conditions at area hospitals and fighting for their lives because they trusted his administration. How many more lives will need to be lost before Abbott takes measures to do what is right for Texas and not for his political career?

“Abbott has made it clear that he does not respect the freedom of locally elected officials to do what they know is best for their communities and schools. Like a dictator, he has stripped away their ability to mitigate this public health crisis and outlawed enforcing even the simplest of measures like wearing a mask. At any cost, Abbott will do whatever it takes to pander to extremists who he believes will re-elect him next term.    

“Abbott is only in it for himself, and Texans are dying because of his poor decisions and inability to lead us out of this health crisis. Texas Democrats stand with teachers, parents, families, and community leaders throughout our state and demand Abbott end his political show and spare us from the worsening outcome of this pandemic.”