In a tweet with a GIF of two beer glasses clinking together posted Monday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott hinted that he is close to reopening bars in Texas.
“Texans have continued to keep COVID under control,” Abbott wrote. “The hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained. Today was one of the lowest for fatalities in a long time. I will be announcing more openings soon. Cheers!”
It’s been one month since Labor Day and two weeks since Gov. Greg Abbott allowed most businesses and restaurants to increase capacity to 75%. So, how are we doing?
The numbers are still not as low as they were back in May, when Abbott loosened restrictions the first time, but they have declined significantly from their peak in July, when new records were being set almost daily.
New numbers of cases reported daily rose above 5,000 only once in September. Otherwise, they are hovering around 4,000 a day.
The state’s positivity rate, the percent of all tests that come back positive, has also maintained the downward trajectory that began after the records of July. As of Monday, it sat at 6.45%.
Hospitalizations are still running ahead of where they were in May, but they are remaining pretty predictable at about 3,200 a day.
Although the numbers remain steady, medical and governmental leaders say now is not the time to drop your guard. As President Donald Trump has shown us, the virus remains prevalent and can easily be spread.
Toward the end of September, Baylor College of Medicine infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Hotez expressed worry that the biggest surge in cases is yet to come.
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday told CNBC he may suspend further reopenings if cases continue to rise. He made the comments two days after the Garden State had its highest daily number of new cases in four months.
In New York City, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered schools in nine ZIP codes to close Tuesday. He also announced that he would take over efforts to enforce social distancing and mask mandates in parts of the city with rising cases.
Texas is currently one of only three states where COVID-19 is declining, CNN reported.
As of Saturday, 21 states reported a rise in cases, and a little more than half held steady compared with the week before.
Friday marked the highest single-day case number in the nation since Aug. 14.
Abbott has said nothing to indicate a specific date for his next announcement.