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So this is reopening

There’s not much to this, is there?

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday announced initial steps to reopen the Texas economy during the coronavirus pandemic, including those that in the next week will loosen surgery restrictions at medical facilities, allow all retail stores to provide product pickups and reopen state parks.

Abbott also named a “statewide strike force” devoted to getting the economy going again. Austin banker James Huffines will chair the task force, while veteran lobbyist Mike Toomey will lead its staff. The group will oversee what Abbott described as a phased reopening, starting Friday with additional announcements set for April 27 and sometime in May.

At the same time, Abbott announced all Texas schools will stay closed through the rest of the academic year. He had previously shuttered them until May 4.

Abbott made the announcements during a news conference at the Texas Capitol that he began on a note of optimism.

“Because of the efforts by everyone to slow the spread, we’re now beginning to see glimmers that the worst of COVID-19 may soon be behind us,” Abbott said, noting the number of infections is “beginning to level off” and the death toll, while tragic, has “not come close to the early, dire predictions.”

“We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus,” Abbott added.

[…]

Abbott said the task force will include fellow state leaders such as Patrick and Texas House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, as well as top medical experts including state health commissioner John Hellerstedt and Mark McClellan, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The medical advisers will focus on developing a strategy to “comprehensively test and trace COVID-19 that will enable Texas to gradually and safely” begin returning to normal, Abbott said.

The task force will be rounded out by an advisory group of business leaders, Abbott said, naming prominent entrepreneurs including Kendra Scott and Michael Dell.

The first phase came in a series of executive orders issued Friday. One order allows for product pickup at retail stores — what Abbott described as “retail-to-go” — that will begin April 24. Outlets will be allowed to bring orders straight to customers’ cars in a manner similar to how many restaurants are currently offering curbside pickup.

Another order, which goes into effect 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, will allow a limited amount of nonessential surgeries at hospitals, as long as those surgeries don’t deplete the hospitals’ supplies of personal protective equipment and allow the facilities to keep at least 25% of their capacity available for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

A third order will allow state parks to open Monday. Visitors to parks will be required to wear masks and keep a safe distance from people outside their households.

Additional openings will be announced April 27 “after further input from medical staff,” Abbott said.

See here for the background, and here for the very manly-man-named Strike Force. Just so we’re clear, “beginning to level off” means we’re still not yet at the peak, which is to say the curve of new cases and deaths is still increasing. Go read that previous post about the curve maybe starting to flatten in Houston. “Near the peak” is not where you want to be.

There’s also no actual plan for expanded testing, which is a bare minimum for easing the restrictions. We are not testing more people in Texas. We don’t even really have the funding to test more people. Who are your medical advisors, and what is their advice for getting true comprehensive testing off the ground?

Hey, remember when Greg Abbott decided that it was better to let Mayors and County Judges lead the way on stay-at-home restrictions? Well, local leaders are nowhere to be found on the Strike Force.

What happens if the Strike Force and Dan Patrick’s Secret Megadonor Team disagree? Do they fight it out?

What if Greg Abbott reopened the economy and no one came, because they’re more worried about ramping down social distancing too quickly than they are about being able to go out in public like they used to? I can tell you that the latest word from the large multinational corporation that I work for is that they expect us all to still be working from home into May. I won’t be surprised if a lot of similar businesses are thinking along the same lines.

You get the idea. We all want to return to normal. We all want businesses to open again. But we all also want to not get sick and maybe die. I don’t think we’re ready for the returning to normal and opening things up part yet. The Chron, the Texas Signal, the Press, the Observer, and the Current have more.

UPDATE: What RG Ratcliffe says:

The problem is not so much that Abbott has named an advisory committee but that he has again found a way to deflect responsibility before taking action. Just as he let mayors and county judges do the hard work of shutting the state down to stop the spread of COVID-19, he is now hoping the strike force will help him balance competing demands for fighting the virus and getting Texans back to work. Abbott put his toe into the water on Friday, but put off big decisions until April 27, saying he wanted to be guided by data, doctors, and the advice of his strike force.

Such a weak leader.

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23 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    “What if Greg Abbott reopened the economy and no one came, because they’re more worried about ramping down social distancing too quickly than they are about being able to go out in public like they used to? ”

    OK, what if? Allow businesses to open as normal, with reasonable accomodations. If people don’t frequent the business because they’re scared, where is the harm? How would that be different than it is now…..except for the fact that workers would be going to work, earning a living.

    If you think no one will patronize the business, then why NOT let them open?

  2. Bill Daniels says:

    “What if Greg Abbott reopened the economy and no one came, because they’re more worried about ramping down social distancing too quickly than they are about being able to go out in public like they used to? ”

    OK, what if? Allow businesses to open as normal, with reasonable accommodations. If people don’t frequent the business because they’re scared, where is the harm? How would that be different than it is now…..except for the fact that workers would be going to work, earning a living?

    If you think no one will patronize the business, then why NOT let them open?

  3. Brad says:

    Bill, because it’s a fucking global pandemic. What do you not get about that. People will die. Thousands. Maybe tens of thousands. And I don’t mean the nut job people carrying weapons side arms into restaurants. These jerks will simply spread it around the rest of the state and kill others.

    Have you not read anything that the public health experts have been saying? Please change the channel from Sean Hannity and Laura Ingram and find some constructive journalism to consume.

  4. Paul Kubosh says:

    Brad,

    I guess you would like for us to open when?

  5. Ross says:

    So, Bill, it sounds like you would have been opposed to quarantining Typhoid Mary, since that infringed on her liberty. Even though she passed typhoid on to who knows how many other people.

    The reason places need to stay closed is that stupid, weak, people like yourself will be running all over the place, hanging out with friends, and spreading the virus. Bill, why do you want at risk people to die?

  6. Adoile Turner III says:

    Texas’ move was expected and a wise decision. Natural selection does not say human intervention gets the final say in who lives and who dies. Study in Santa Clara county using antibody test saying cases can be 85x higher in cali where testing is way more robust. We did a good job with the stay at home order even i will admit being opposed to it, but enough is enough to much constitutionality coming into question and to many people losing everything on a greater scale than the number of deaths. We can’t keep this going forever, the 30+ days was enough.

  7. Paul Kubosh says:

    Ross,

    I will ask you the same question. When would you open up?

  8. Joel says:

    I am betting when health experts say it is safe. Specifically, when we are meeting them recommended testing levels and the case numbers are going, not up.

    It isn’t complicated.

  9. Joel says:

    And I will give the answer they would, again.

    When testing numbers are meeting recommended levels and cases numbers are down.

    I assume you aren’t actually this daft?

  10. Joel says:

    Why don’t the people in a hurry to get things open again support the people who want to take the steps necessary to make that practicable?

    It’s weird. It’s almost like they aren’t being honest. Almost.

  11. Bill Daniels says:

    “I am betting when health experts say it is safe.”

    So, in a couple of years then. Great plan. We’ll be in a depression, with world wide civil unrest and rioting. The living will envy the dead.

    Look, this virus is going to eventually make it around to everyone, no matter what we do or don’t do. A relatively small amount of people will die. Everyone else will live. Time to go on with life. The ‘experts’ that warned of 25 million Americans dying from this are obviously now proven to be full of shit.

  12. Paul Kubosh says:

    “I am betting when health experts say it is safe.”

    — Which ones?

    “Specifically, when we are meeting them recommended testing levels”

    — What are those recommended levels?

    and the case numbers are going, not up.”

    — I am not sure what you mean by that?

    All of those general statements everyone agrees with but how those are defined is the problem. There would be a lot less pressure if Nancy would agree to fund the PPP with as much money as needed.
    It isn’t complicated.

  13. Jules says:

    “to fund PPP with as much money as needed”.

    – how much is needed, and according to whom?

    Actually I agree there needs to be more money for people and more testing.

    Never heard 25 million Americans would die, so I’m guessing it’s Bill that’s full of shit.

  14. Bill Daniels says:

    Jules,

    I took some liberties with that as deaths vs. infected, but the California governor did say 25.5M infected, just in his state.

    https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-california-newsom-1-billion-federal-funding/

  15. Joel says:

    ““I am betting when health experts say it is safe.”

    — Which ones?

    “Specifically, when we are meeting them recommended testing levels”

    — What are those recommended levels?

    and the case numbers are going, not up.”

    — I am not sure what you mean by that?

    All of those general statements everyone agrees with but how those are defined is the problem. There would be a lot less pressure if Nancy would agree to fund the PPP with as much money as needed.
    It isn’t complicated.”

    it’s this kind of sophomoric nonsense that has put us in this position.

    find me a SINGLE health expert who thinks we should be opening up before late summer, and i will respond to the rest of your ignorant crap.

  16. Joel says:

    i should have said, “in 2020.”

    go ahead, quote me somebody.

  17. C.L. says:

    Trump wants to give the big orange ‘Okay To Open Up’ for one simple reason – re-election and his narcissistic hold on power. Anything to make his meth head, Oxy-eating, coal mining, racist base forget they they’re at the bottom of the 99% due to the 1 percenters. Plopping you’re own name of a stimulus check is a shameless ‘I’m paying you so vote me’ ploy.

    Abbott wants Texas businesses to open due to the shared ideaology with POTUS and maybe, just maybe, is truly interested in his citizen’s economy.

  18. Manny says:

    The Trump Depression is not going to be help the Russian Cheeto.

  19. Bill Daniels says:

    Oh, lookie here. Turns out that sunlight, high heat and high humidity DOES indeed kill the Wuhan virus.

    https://news.yahoo.com/sunlight-destroys-coronavirus-very-quickly-new-government-tests-find-but-experts-say-pandemic-could-still-last-through-summer-200745675.html

    Yet another Chinese controlled World Health Organization lie uncovered.

  20. Jules says:

    Wow Bill you really are stupid and believe everything Trump says, even when it is exactly opposite what he had you believing before.

    Go away, you add nothing.

  21. […] the stories about this model were written. The IHME is the model that Greg Abbott has used for his reopening plan, so the fact that its projections can change significantly as new data comes in should be of […]

  22. Manny says:

    Bill you could convince yourself that day is night. The report actually says high temperature, high humidity, and sunlight limit its’ ability to survive outside a host. Like on a door knob, a salt shaker, but Bill go out and join all those protestors don’t wear a mask and get up on people’s faces, we know that you laugh at death.

  23. […] here for the background. Who knows what this means, and who knows what medical advisers he’s […]