Who’s concerned about the state’s coronavirus spike?

Not Greg Abbott, or Dan Patrick, or Ken Paxton, that’s for sure.

The Oregon governor is calling it a “freeze.” In New Mexico, it’s a “reset.”

Across the country, state elected officials are frantically rolling back their reopening plans to slow the burgeoning surge in coronavirus infections.

But in Texas, Republican leaders remain unwilling to change course in the face of soaring hospitalizations and an early uptick in deaths from the virus that has public health experts increasingly alarmed.

Gov. Greg Abbott has yet to impose new restrictions or allow county officials to take additional measures. Attorney General Ken Paxton has intervened to strike down locally adopted restrictions. Other requests to further limit gatherings, close nonessential businesses or impose stricter mask requirements have been blocked.

On Friday, a state appeals court halted a temporary shutdown of nonessential businesses in El Paso County, where cases have skyrocketed and mobile morgues have been rushed in to handle all the casualties. Paxton and a group of restaurant owners had sued to block the order, claiming the governor has final say on any new restrictions.

“I will not let rogue political subdivisions try to kill small businesses and holiday gatherings through unlawful executive orders,” Paxton said in a statement celebrating the appeals court ruling. On Twitter, he added: “We must never shut Texas down again!!”


Since September, Abbott has relied on a reopening plan that ratchets up restrictions in regions that have growing numbers of people hospitalized with COVID-19; the threshold is now seven continuous days of coronavirus patients filling at least 15 percent of all available beds in that area.

Few if any other states are using a similar threshold, and public health experts have long cautioned against relying on hospitalizations alone because they provide a delayed glimpse into the state of an outbreak — it takes someone several days to be hospitalized after they contract COVID.

Rebecca Fischer, assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Texas A&M, said it’s important to consider multiple factors, including the rate at which people are testing positive for the virus, emergency room visits and infections at nursing and other long-term care facilities. And she said local governments need decision-making power to best respond to their situations, which may differ even within a given region.

“When I see county judges that are trying so hard to work toward the public health of their constituents and then are just cut off and told no, it kills me,” Fischer said. “Everybody in the public health realm is left scratching their head as to why that would be the case.”

Let’s be clear:

1. They don’t care. Abbott doesn’t want to talk about coronavirus. Paxton will sue any local official who tries to take action to save lives. Dan Patrick has never walked back his comments about letting Grandma die so businesses can reopen.

2. They will never give any authority to local officials. If anything, there will be further bills in the upcoming Lege to restrict what local officials can do even more.

3. They will go straight to Defcon 1 the minute the Biden administration attempts to take any action to combat the virus.

How many people get sick and die as a result is not their concern. They could not be more clear about this.

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6 Responses to Who’s concerned about the state’s coronavirus spike?

  1. blank says:

    They will go straight to Defcon 1 the minute the Biden administration attempts to take any action to combat the virus.

    They will become apoplectic about the Biden administration’s response to COVID no matter what it is.

  2. Kibitzer Curiae says:


    The appellate judge on the Eight Court of Appeals who wrote the opinion nixing El Paso’s more restrictive local COVID-containment order (Chief Justice Jeff Alley) is a recent Abbott appointee who just lost the election to his colleague Yvonne Rodriguez (who is currently an associate justice on the same court), receiving less than 36% of the vote. The only way he can stay on his court is if Governor Abbott reappoints him to the vacancy created when Justice Rodriguez is sworn in as his successor in the position of Chief.

    So that gave the Chief three personal motives to rule for Abbott:

    (1) Thank you, Sir, for the honor of the judicial appointment; (2) a grudge against the voters of the El Paso district who rejected him resoundingly with such a wide margin, and (3) a possibility that Abbott might nevertheless reappoint him to the forthcoming vacancy, given his loyal service.

    CASE CITE: State of Texas v. El Paso County, Texas and Ricardo A. Samaniego, in his official capacity as County Judge, El Paso County, Texas 08-20-00226-CV (Tex.App- El Paso, Nov. 13, 2020)(“[W]e reject the County’s paradigm that the Governor’s order can set a ceiling for occupancy and the County can then set a floor, with the public required to abide by the more restrictive provision. … Just as a servant cannot have two masters, the public cannot have two sets of rules to live by, particularly in a pandemic…”)


    Chief Alley’s contribution to the emasculation of local officials and commensurate centralization of power at the state level is very useful. That way, the GOP can solidify its control of the State while the metropolitan areas increasingly turn blue (or become competitive). And the precedent thus created won’t even be limited to the Disaster Act context. If the statutory constraints in that Act don’t preclude a ruling in favor of expansive gubernatorial powers, why should that be a problem with any other statutes? Or the Texas constitution, for that matter.

    Preemption is now the thing wherein the Governor gets to rule by whim.

    The AG and his minions already laid the legal groundwork for this project of judicially-assisted power-shifting toward centralized control through his ultra-vires suit against Chris Hollins in Harris County. Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court’s State v. Hollins decision was invoked as precedent to put the locals down once more. The Supremes are on board with the AG and the Governor on this and actively collaborating (except for Justice Devine, who has his own constituency and an agenda that does not always align with the Governor’s).


    El Paso COA Chief Alley should have recused himself from the case in which AG Paxton sought to further aggrandize gubernatorial emergency powers at the expense of local control by locally elected and accountable political leaders. He had personal reasons to make his ruling come out in Abbott’s favor, and against his own County of El Paso, and therefore a conflict of interest.

    Alas, conflicts-of-interest are no big deal when friends do favors among friends, which here involves pushing the common-law-making project down the slippery slope toward gubernatorial absolutism. Umbrage, rather, is likely to be taken when hackles are raised by those who are not members of the club.

    For a better understanding of how the sausage gets made to suit the palate of the ruling party and its leadership, see the meticulous textualist Scalia-citing critique in the dissenting opinion in the case. It also has a more personal rejoinder appended; observations that transcends the duly acknowledged judicial role constraints, and sprinkle in some common sense under conditions of crisis.

    Here is the link to both opinions:


  3. Bill Daniels says:

    If you’re scared, shut your business down, fire your employees, lose your business, house, car, and whatever else you have because you are no longer working but still have bills, and hide in your basement, at least until the sheriff comes to boot you out after you’ve been foreclosed on or evicted. Then you can join the homeless, who don’t seem to be devastated by the Wu flu, despite being, well, homeless, with all the lack of hygiene issues that go with that.

    For the rest of us, life is risk. We accept that, and move on with life. This also should finally ‘debunk’ the mask foolishness. If that shit worked as advertised, we wouldn’t be having a spike in cases, now, would we?

    I will not live in, nor be ruled by, fear. If you fear me walking around without a mask, that’s YOUR problem. You deal with it…..grab your binky, go to your safe space, grab a coloring book, or whatever helps you deal with your anxiety.

  4. Brad says:

    Stupid is as stupid does.

  5. Ross says:

    Bill, you are still an idiot. Why do you want people to die? Why do you think you are special? Are you saying we should just open everything and pretend there’s no virus? What’s your plan for hospitals with patients lining the halls and morgue with no space for the dead?

  6. Mark says:

    “If that shit worked as advertised, we wouldn’t be having a spike in cases, now, would we?” yes, because I’m sure as soon as a mask mandate went into effect everyone immediately complied. Just ignore all those protesters bleating about how masks are worse than slavery.
    I’ve read a ton of your amazingly fact free and stupid posts Bill but this takes the cake. Congrats, you haven’t lost your touch.

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