Abbott declares a state of emergency

Seems like it’s called for.

Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday declared that the new coronavirus is a statewide public health disaster and said that Texas is on the verge of being able to significantly ramp up its testing capacity.

At the same time he announced that he was directing day cares, nursing homes and prisons to limit visitations.

He said San Antonio is opening on Friday the first state drive-through with testing capabilities that will initially prioritize health care workers and high-risk patients.

Abbott also finally clarified the state’s testing history so far and current capabilities. In total, he said there have been 220 Texans tested by either a state public lab or by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There are another 75 Texans being tested currently.

On Friday, the state’s testing capacity was roughly 270 people per day, but he said next week that capacity will expand into the thousands as private labs come online.

The Chron adds some more details.

The governor didn’t provide details on where and when the lab would open. But he credited Mayor Ron Nirenberg and his team for leading the way on the issue.

The facility will initially be only for first responders, health care workers, operators of critical infrastructure and key resources and certain high-risk patients, Abbott said.

He said the state has tested 220 Texans so far for the virus and he expects public and private labs to exponentially increase the capacity next week. The labs will be able to test several thousand people a week.

It’s a good and necessary start, but there’s a lot more that can be said and done. What about paid sick leave, which the state is fighting tooth and nail in court, for one? What about the millions of people with no health insurance, including all those who would have benefited from an expansion of Medicaid? It may seem crass and opportunistic to bring up heated political points like these right now, but we’d be in a much stronger position now if Abbott and his fellow Republicans hadn’t so fiercely opposed these things. Policy and politics matter. We shouldn’t let Abbott off the hook for these things just because he did his job today. WFAA and the DMN have more.

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33 Responses to Abbott declares a state of emergency

  1. robert says:

    I was reading all the comments on social media the other day about how the Mayor cancelled the rodeo and that this was a scare tactic by the Democrats to smear Trump. That the virus has been around for a long time and it’s just like the flu.

    How are lies like the ones being told by the Trump administration and then repeated by Fox (or vice versa) allowed??

    Their supporters just repeat the lies no matter how unbelievable they are.

    Politics has become like people and their sprts teams…will support them no matter how much they suck. And get vicious about it, think of the Red Sox and Yankees, lol

  2. brad says:


    Can you respond to Robert about the “hoax” that is currently wreaking havoc across the world?

  3. brad says:

    Let’s re-name the “Rainy Day Fund” into the “Pandemic Day Fund” and see if that works with the Republicans?

    Of will they want to re-name it the “$ Barrel of Oil is too low Fracking Day Fund”?

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    Sure. Remember Hurricane Rita? More people died from the mass panic than actually died from being killed by the storm. It’s the same thing here. The mass hysteria is hurting more people than the actual Wu flu will hurt. 60 million Americans got the swine flu, tens of thousands died but there wasn’t this level of hysteria…..why? Because this time, we’ve got a virus on top of unabated TDS.

    We know enough about the Wu flu now to see a pattern. Most who get it will have moderate flu like symptoms, or no symptoms, not enough to warrant hospitalization. A minority of folks who are elderly and in poor health will be hospitalized, and a small percentage, killed by it…..just like the seasonal flu. We also know that in warmer temps, the virus remains viable on surfaces for a much shorter time period. What’s happening now? We’re heading into Summer. This is going to die out, just like the swine flu, whether we do anything about it or not.

    Cliffs: You’ve made a $ 20 issue over a $ 5 problem. Not only that, but you folks drummed up this mass hysteria to try and make Trump look bad, and, as usual, that backfired on you. Early on, Trump banned travel from China. RACIST, you said! Then he banned travel from Europe. Overreaction, you said! And the final death blow was done at the press conference. You want a big deal made about this? LOL, you’re gonna get drive through testing at every Walmart and Walgreens in the country. You’ve got bullshit health care regulation rolled back. You’re going to get all the emergency medical equipment out of dry storage that will probably be set up yet go unused. You’re going to get $ 20 worth of attention to your $ 5 issue, so you can’t say “Trump isn’t doing anything, he’s incompetent!” You’ll just have to fall back on the old standards, Trump is a racist, etc., because Trump, in his typical showmanship style, is pulling out all the stops, making previous responses look inadequate.

    And as to oil, did you miss Trump’s presser? We’re going to fill the strategic petroleum reserve to the top with this cheap, $ 30/bbl oil. That helps our oil industry AND the taxpayers get a bargain, because when that oil actually gets sold and used, no doubt oil will be $ 100+ a bbl.

  5. Bill Kelly says:

    1. The wild card here is that this is a brand new virus, this novel coronavirus, and we do not know if it’s going to diminish as the weather gets warm. We can’t count on that.

    2. The novel coronavirus spreading across the globe is 10 times more lethal than the seasonal flu.

    3. The testing rollout has been a failure.

    All three of the above statements are actually quotes from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci.

    Please, if a stock market crash, pro sports cancelation, and worldwide pandemic can’t make you understand the severity of this, just stay home, wash your hands, and don’t touch your face.

  6. Flypusher says:

    Yes, I do remember Hurricane Rita, because I was here and I did leave town. It was headed straight for Houston, until it made a very late turn northwards. People in Galveston, Dickinson, Deer Park, Freeport, Santa Fe, etc. absolutely made the right call to bug out. The problem was with all the people in Katy, Kingwood, the Woodlands, etc not staying put. They over-reacted.

    The people hoarding toilet paper are over-reacting. The government finally taking this seriously? No. They’re doing their job, hopefully not too late. We’ll know in a few weeks.

    Also to add to Bill K’s list:

    4) The virus can survive for several days on surfaces outside the human body. That makes it easier to spread.

    5) Asymptomatic people can infect others. That also makes it easier to spread.

  7. Brad says:

    Bill aka Alaska,

    I guess those images of Italian hospitals with senior citizens dying due to lack of ventilators are a production of the Deep State in Area 51 where they filmed the fake moon landings?

  8. Flypusher says:

    Don’t you know, that’s just disaster porn, and WE are the bad people for looking at it and daring to say let’s take action so as to not repeat that experience.

  9. Bill Daniels says:

    LOL! The Italians were encouraged to go out and hug random Chinese people to prove they weren’t racists…..with predictable results.

    But why are y’all here? Don’t you have toilet paper to go buy so you can horde it?

  10. Bill Daniels says:


    Brad, I don’t really get the ‘Alaska’ reference. I’m guessing it’s intended as a slur, but can you explain it for us, so we can all appreciate the joke?

  11. Jules says:

    Mar-a-lago seems to be a disease hotspot. Has Trump been tested? Who the hell knows.

  12. Wolfgang says:

    On March 5, 2020, Governor Abbott assured the public that “the risk for Texans remains low.”

    Eight days later he declares a state of disaster. At least he is catching on. (“TO ALL TO WHOM THESE PRESENTS SHALL COME”).

    Meanwhile, the epidemic has spread to an unknown number of folks who have (or will have) only mild or no symptoms, and will infect others, and the big die-off of the elderly and the infirm (“underlying medical conditions”) is just a question of time and temporal spread.

    Admittedly, if the accelerated culling of the demographic (age) structure of the population is not a problem for unaffected Republicans, it follows that the epidemic is not a problem either because the vast majority of the young and most middle-age will very likely survive it.

    Texans who are not willing to have the novel disease exterminate the old and infirm would be better served with someone like Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who not only has the smarts to be a leader in crisis committed to drawing on the best available scientific evidence, but also has her heart in the right place.

    See podcasts here:

  13. Flypusher says:

    “LOL! The Italians were encouraged to go out and hug random Chinese people to prove they weren’t racists…..with predictable results.”

    You really are reveling in this, aren’t you Bill? Here you see a glorious opportunity to bash the Chinese, bash all those woke libs, and justify your racism as pragmatism. But you miss the very important lesson as to why things got so bad in Wuhan.

    They had their chance to avoid a crisis too. Back in December, Dr. Li Wenliang tried to raise the alarm. But an authoritarian government that was more concerned with image (admitting that there’s an outbreak will make us look bad!) not only refused to listen to him, but was he detained and forced to recant. The Chinese government was arrogant enough to think that it could win a war with reality (sound familiar?). But the virus wasn’t stopped by denial, and we all know what happened next.

    Here in America we are cursed with another authoritarian who wants to quash news that he thinks makes him look bad, holds expertise in contempt, and thinks he can alter reality with lies. Again, the virus is unimpressed. Fortunately for us, Trump cannot treat Dr. Tony Fauci in the same shameful way the Chinese government treated Dr. Li Wenliang. He may end up saving Trump from himself, and spare the rest of us the fates of Wuhan and Italy.

    Sad postscript; Dr Li Wenliang died from Coronavirus, and he was a healthy young man in his 30s.

  14. Brad says:

    RIP Dr. Wenliang

  15. Bill Daniels says:


    Trump is negative. Sorry for your loss.


    You really need to pick just one lane and stay in it. Is Trump a bumbling incompetent, or is he an authoritarian monster, running roughshod on the civil liberties of American citizens?

    Let’s get down to brass tacks:

    Travel ban on China early on….authoritarian, or nah? Agree or not?

    Travel ban on Europe: authoritarian, or nah? Agree or not?

    Handling of the California cruise ship infected? Newsom seemed to think it was handled properly, but what does Fly think? Authoritarian, or nah?

    How about the rest of the response….the team, the private/public partnership, the drive through testing, the breaking out the emergency stockpile and setup of medical equipment? Are we all gonna die because some guy no one had ever heard about quit during Trump’s term?

    Troop movement halt? Authoritarian, or nah?

    Seems like an authoritarian regime would ban large events like baseball, and the rodeo, but Trump didn’t do that….Turner and private industry did that, respectively. .

    ~ show me the authoritarianism exhibited by Trump that you disagree with

    ~ tell us what you’d do different, right now, today, vs. or in addition to what Trump announced

    ~ how has Trump’s response failed your expectations

    It’ll be interesting to compare your response to Bernie and Joe’s plans and complaints, because, IMHO, Trump just blew out their narratives, so they are going to have to scramble to find something to bitch about.

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    For what it’s worth, here’s Joe Biden’s plan:

    Please note Joe isn’t interested in banning people from anywhere. Under a President Biden presidency, planes would be coming into IAH daily from Wuhan and from Italy, and illegal aliens with diseases would be free flowing into the country on our southern border.

  17. Flypusher says:

    “You really need to pick just one lane and stay in it. Is Trump a bumbling incompetent, or is he an authoritarian monster, running roughshod on the civil liberties of American citizens?”

    Authoritarianism and incompetence are not mutually exclusive; in fact they are often linked traits. That’s because authoritarians tend to deny uncomfortable truths and surround themselves with flatterers and yes-men. Trump has both traits in large quantities, and fortunately the later often hampers the former.

    “~ tell us what you’d do different, right now, today, vs. or in addition to what Trump announced”

    I’ll tell you exactly what I would have done differently- as soon as the news started breaking from Wuhan that there was trouble, I would have been gearing up for testing. See South Korea for the example. I also would not have LIED and LIED about the reality of outbreak and its potential danger to this country. That delay and those lies cost this country valuable, irreplaceable time that could have been used to get ahead of the spread of the infection, and there is no guarantee that what he is finally doing now is going to be enough.

    There are reports that Azar was trying to push starting testing earlier, but Trump didn’t want that inconvenient truth of more confirmed Coronavirus cases, because that would make him took bad. To call that reprehensible is a gross understatement. You are such a toady that you just cannot criticize glorious leader for squandering that time, can’t acknowledge that he’d still be denying reality if the stock market hadn’t tanked, won’t admit that he has made things worse by his past denial and failure to act. Yeah, he’s finally admitting reality now. That doesn’t absolve him for past failings.

    Also I would go with direct cash assistance at the very least to the poorest Americans, so that infected people would not have to chose between going hungry/making rent and doing their civic duty by self-quarantining. A pay roll tax cut is just more trickle down and mostly ineffective in this situation.

    “Seems like an authoritarian regime would ban large events like baseball, and the rodeo, but Trump didn’t do that….Turner and private industry did that, respectively. .”

    Republics (see Europe) do that too, if there is an actual emergency. Which there is.

    “How about the rest of the response….the team, the private/public partnership, the drive through testing, the breaking out the emergency stockpile and setup of medical equipment? ”

    Ramped up testing hasn’t happened yet, so there’s nothing to comment on. When we can match South Korea, then we’ll talk.

    “Are we all gonna die because some guy no one had ever heard about quit during Trump’s term?”

    You mean Trump nixing the CDC’s epidemic response team? I won’t, and I’m guessing you won’t, but others may. Even by Trump standards that was a stupid, stupid move. This type of pandemic event was predicted.

    As for the travel bans, the issue with those is that Trump was acting like that was all he had to do. I can see how that 1st China travel ban could have bought time, but that time was squandered. The Europe travel ban is basically closing the barn door after the horse is long since down the road. The virus is already here. The cruise ship situations were horribly botched. Find a place to isolate those people and get them off the ships ASAP. Keeping them on the floating petri dish probably accelerated the infection rate.

    “show me the authoritarianism exhibited by Trump that you disagree with”

    He acted exactly like the Chinese government did- denying the reality until it was too late. That’s what authoritarians do.

  18. Brad says:

    Alaska Bill,

    Please turn off Fox news now and get out of your bubble.

    I’m surprise that you have not mentioned this coronavirus is somehow related to either Hillary Clinton or Biden’s Burisma board of director ship.

  19. Jules says:

    Trump totally screwed up the airports last night.

    And he lies so much, we don’t know if he was tested or the result.

  20. Manny says:

    Trump is an idiot in fact the entire Trump family are idiots.

    Could Trump have stopped the virus, no, could he have stopped it from spreading so fast, yes. The spreading too fast is what is making it a killer, and then you have people like Bill saying well it kills the elderly mostly. That may be the only good thing that has come out of Bill’s mouth as the majority of Republicans are elderly.

    Since there are many elderly Democrats, I keep hoping that a vote for Hillary is the equivalent of painting your doorway with blood, when it comes to the virus and that it will bypass those homes.

  21. robert says:

    Bill, if Trump tested negative, that’s good news for you because you’ve got your head buried deep in his ass….how old are you by the way, because we’ll all be concerned if you go silent for awhile 🙁

  22. Flypusher says:

    Examples of GOPers who are doing the right thing in taking this seriously: Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz, Newt Gingrich.

    A Dem who is making a wrong choice: Gov. Cuomo of NY, in questioning the need to shut down schools.

    The virus has a foothold here, Stopping it will take more drastic measures.

  23. Brad says:

    Obviously the patriotic thing to do right now is to be primarily responsible for your personal social distancing so that we can arrest and slow down this epidemic in our country/world.
    That and personal hygiene are the two most important things that will save lives and the reduce significant negative ramifications to the world economy

  24. WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION (WHO) ADVISES:  Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

    WHO EXPLAINS  When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease

    What we now have at the airports looks like a large giant petri dish for cultivating the corona virus under controlled conditions. Federal authorities are in effect experimenting on a captive audience of non-volunteers. Probably unwittingly.


    If the authorities didn’t think there was a danger lurking among this group of new arrivals, they would not want to survey them. But now the cumbersome screening procedure is creating favorable conditions for a demonstration of how fast the virus can and will spread when you corral hundreds in a confined space for hours. Not to mention that they will use a limited number of restrooms, so the virus will not just travel up and down the line and jump adjoining lines, but will have opportunity to be mixed throughout the crowd.

    This is not a situation were the CURE is worse than the DISEASE, but where the diagnostic/screening measures are apt to aggravate the problem by accelerating the spread of the epidemic. (According to the medical experts, there is no cure, only symptom alleviation).


    It would seem the only sensible thing, in the absence of adequate front-end testing capacity (contra South Korea and Germany), is to put these travelers into home isolation, and track compliance by tracking their movements through their personal cell phones (like ankle monitors for folks on conditional release). If trackees leave the house, let the alarm go off so others can be warned, and in tracked in turn if contact occurs.

    The same approach should be applied to all positive cases to accelerate the retrospective contact tracing and HOTSPOT IDENTIFICATION. This can be automated and done quickly by electronic means; obviates the need to rely on imperfect and imprecise recall information provided by the infected person.

    Get the movement data from the cell phone operators or from apps in the case of users that opted to be tracked through Google Maps etc, and then publish on the web the path the infected people have travelled, with all public places with high occurrences/visits being indicated heatmap-style.

    Assuming those in power are not (yet) ready to impose more drastic measures as being implemented in Italy, Spain, France, and Austria, this may be the best interim alternative because it would be more targeted, and would cause less economic disruption.

    Tests are in short supply, ergo must be rationed to target on high-probability cases, to maximize rate of positives, mimimize wasting resources on private for-profit testing for peace of mind only. Tests should be ordered by doctors only.

  25. Manny says:

    Bill it was not too long that you were constantly bragging about Trump and the stock market. I haven’t heard you say much lately, why is that?

  26. Bill Daniels says:


    You folks are so afflicted with TDS that you’re practically giddy at what is happening right now. Burn it down! Screw up the economy and the stock market! Anything to get Orange Man out!

    It’s pitiful, really. Even with all the vitriol thrown around here, I don’t want to see any of you folks suffer, economically or health wise. I don’t. But you’ll be happy to see elderly die because it’s likely they’re old white folks who vote Republican. You’ll be tickled pink to see small businesses go under, to see people lose their homes, lose their jobs….any suffering is worth it if we can just get rid of Orange Man. I really don’t see how y’all sleep at night. Many of the people all this overreaction is going to wipe out financially are liberals. Tanking the stock market hurts you, too.

    I mean, it’s like the whole world has turned into Bernie bros. You want to see people jobless, dependent on the government, and standing in line for food. The only twist here is, you’ve got people standing in line for toilet paper, too. It’s nuts.

  27. Bill Daniels says:

    Hey Manny,

    Remember ‘muh Russians interfering in our elections?’ Remember the catering company that supposedly bought Facebook ads? The slam dunk case that proved muh Russian kuhlooziun?

    DoJ just dropped the case. In case you haven’t discovered yet, the DoJ is STILL in liberal hands, as Bill Barr protects the DoJ and all their skullduggery at all costs, to ‘protect muh institutions.’ He wouldn’t charge Comey, Clapper, et al, for perjury, happily applauded the Roger Stone indictment, and now, he drops the case against the Russians….because there was no case. The whole Russian narrative was bullshit, and this was the final little piece. No case, and the DoJ didn’t want to be embarrassed in court.

  28. Manny says:

    So Bill why are you not telling us how great the stock market is doing under Trump.

    You do like the Russian Cheeto and go off on tangents that have nothing to do with the virus or the stock market.

    Bill it was not me, it was the orange cheeto that is responsible for not properly preparing for the virus. People die who could have been saved, blame Trump not me. I don’t control anything he does. As one financial person stated about Trump speech, “that was the most expensive speech in the history of the world”.

    It is people like you that voted for the idiot that won with the help of the Russians you and that fool on the hill will be responsible for ” happy to see elderly die because it’s likely they’re old white folks who vote Republican. You’ll be tickled pink to see small businesses go under, to see people lose their homes, lose their jobs….any suffering is worth it if we can just get rid of Orange Man.”

    That is you Bill, the Orange Cheeto and the rest of the fools that still believe in the fool on the hill that are responsible for the deaths, the stock market tanking.

    How is your elderly mother doing Bill? Hope you don’t think she is expandable because she is elderly. Hope you don’t go and bring the virus back to her as you stated previously “The rodeo should NOT have been canceled, and it was even dumber to cancel SXSW. The twenty and thirty somethings that attend SXSW aren’t dying from the Wu flu….it’s 80 year olds with health problems that die from it. What should have happened is, elderly, and those who are in close contact with the elderly, should have made the decision to not go, and for everyone else, rodeo time, y’all. For everyone else, wash your hands more frequently, and just live your life.”

    You don’t think elderly have children and grandchildren that may want to visit?

    I don’t expect fools like you to understand that one does not have to go out for the virus to come to them. It could be via a child or maybe when they go to church, or grocery shopping,

    Are you human Bill?

  29. Manny says:

    By the way Bill the stock market closed at 20,188.52 last time it was that high was in … drum roll ….

    February 2017, that is what Obama handed over to Trump. Hell of a guy you all picked to make this country go into a recession. Why do you all like to mess everything up for the Real hard working Americans.

  30. Bill Daniels says:


    As a caregiver for someone who is elderly, I would have made the choice NOT to go to the rodeo, and I would expect that the 20 something kids at SXSW to delay visiting their tias and abuellas for a few weeks after visiting SXSW. That’s normal and reasonable. Cancelling everything, shutting down bars and, for all intents and purposes, shutting down restaurants? This isn’t right, and you know it. How many businesses will close forever? How many paycheck to paycheck waiters, bartenders, cooks, etc. are going to lose their jobs?

    It is you that have no heart, Manny. You’re intentionally throwing the country into a painful recession just to try and get Orange Man. And the really sad thing? When Orange Man gets reelected, and he will, all the pain and suffering you folks inflicted on everyday Americans will have been for nothing. Sad.

  31. Attribution of bad motives or disagreements on underlying values is not going to solve the an epidemic-in-progress that puts elderly Republicans at risk as much as aging liberals. At least the right measures are now being taken. If they are enough to stop the exponential surge in infections remains to be seen.

    Here is some food for thought about a smarter, forward-looking approach taken by a country that is comparable in size to Harris County (5.6 mil):

    Ng Y, Li Z, Chua YX, et al. Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Surveillance and Containment Measures for the First 100 Patients with COVID-19 in Singapore — January 2–February 29, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 13 March 2020. DOI: icon.


    First detected in China in late 2019, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission has spread globally.

    What is added by this report?

    Singapore implemented a multipronged surveillance and containment strategy that contributed to enhanced case ascertainment and slowing of the outbreak. Based on review of the first 100 cases, the mean interval from symptom onset to isolation was 5.6 days and declined after approximately 1 month.

    What are the implications for public health practice?

    A multipronged surveillance strategy could lead to enhanced case detection and reduced transmission of highly infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

    * * *

    Singapore implemented strong surveillance and containment measures, which appear to have slowed the growth of the outbreak. These measures might be useful for detection and containment of COVID-19 in other countries that are experiencing the start of local COVID-19 outbreaks. Singapore is a small island city-state, and nations with other characteristics might need to adapt and augment Singapore’s approaches to achieve the same level of effectiveness.

  32. Manny says:

    Bill, you are giving me such powers that I am causing all this pain. Only idiots and Republicans like you would believe the bull that comes out of your mind and mouth, and your finger tips.

    You and Trump claimed that the stock market going up because of Trump. If he is responsible for it going up then he is responsible for it coming down. Bill you can’t have it both ways.

    Your god is an idiot so what does that make you?

  33. Manny says:

    Wolfgang, neither you nor I nor Bill will solve the problem of the virus right now. But it could solve the problem of a Russian asset that happens to be an idiot is in the White House making life and death decisions.

    If I want instructions as to what is happening with the virus I go to various sources, I don’t come to off the kuff to find out.

    By the way, you left out two countries that were very successful in dealing with the coronavirus, South Korea and Taiwan.

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