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Texas Readies for Phase 3 of Reopening, Despite Mounting Coronavirus Toll

Texas is about to take yet another step toward restarting its economy, even as coronavirus infections and deaths continue to climb throughout the state.

Governor Abbott’s Plan to End Coronavirus Shutdown

Phase 3 of Governor Gregg Abbott’s reopening plan begins on Monday, May 18th, at which time gyms and other fitness facilities, non-essential manufacturing, and offices will be permitted to resume operations.

The state entered Phase 1 just two weeks ago, when retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls were permitted to reopen their doors. Barbershops, hair and nail salons, and tanning beds were among the personal care businesses allowed to resume operations when Phase 2 kicked off last Friday.

Regardless of phase, all reopened businesses must adhere to capacity restrictions and other social distancing requirements established by the Governor’s order.

Texas COVID-19 Cases and Deaths Hit Single-Day High

COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, has sickened more than 1.4 million people  in the United States and killed over 86,000. As of this morning, the Lone Star State had reported more than 43,800 confirmed infections and 1,218 deaths.

Just yesterday, an additional 1,458 cases and 58 fatalities were confirmed in Texas, a single-day record for both. The state counted more than 1,000 new infections on each of the previous five days.

Other states are also starting to reopen their economies following months-long coronavirus shutdowns, but few have done so as quickly as Texas. While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends states wait to reopen until new COVID-19 infections have declined for 14 consecutive days, Abbott’s plan went into effect as case and death counts continued to increase, raising concern that the Governor had acted too quickly.

Hundreds of Additional COVID-19 Deaths Predicted for Texas

“Overwhelmingly, Texans are concerned that testing is too slow, the state is moving too fast, and that Gov. Abbott’s actions threaten to undo the sacrifices people have made to protect our health and safety,” Ed Espinoza, executive director of Progress Texas, said in a statement Tuesday. “Just how many lives is a possibility of ‘boosting’ the economy worth?”

Governor Abbott has repeatedly cited a low death rate relative to other large states, as well as a low rate of positive tests (which the White House said can be substituted for the 14-day criteria) and adequate hospital capacity, to justify reopening, insisting that his decision was not driven by political concerns or the collapsing Texas economy. But even the Governor has acknowledged that ending the coronavirus shutdown will likely result in a growing rate of infections and deaths.

Earlier this month, researchers at the University of Washington released an updated model predicting Texas would see 3,632 coronavirus fatalities by August 4th, 1,288 more than previously forecast. The updated figures reflect increased mobility as the state’s coronavirus lockdown ends and social distancing restrictions are eased.

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Our Undefeated Houston Personal Injury Lawyers are monitoring the Texas coronavirus outbreak, as well as its impact on workers and family throughout the state, and will continue to post updates as new information becomes available.

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