Congress members urge Texas to scale back reopening, give back local authority

On Friday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Joaquín Castro sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging him to rewind reopening efforts in Texas.
On Friday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Joaquín Castro sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging him to rewind reopening efforts in Texas. (Copyright 2020 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – On Friday, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and Rep. Joaquín Castro sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging him to rewind reopening efforts in Texas. The lawmakers argued that Texas’ decision to reopen was based on calls from the Trump administration and not based on science.

“Texas had become a model on how to fight this vicious virus, but now we have become a poster child on what not to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the Congress members wrote in the letter.

The lawmakers said Texas should allow the local authorities to do what is in the best interest of their communities.

“We want to save lives,” the lawmakers said.

New cases of COVID-19 are spiking in Texas. In recent days, the state set a new high with nearly 10,800 new cases, along with a record 110 deaths.

“The numbers speak for themselves, but your office says, ‘There is no shutdown coming.” Mr. Governor, we are pleading with you to give local jurisdictions the ability to issue stay at home orders in order to roll back the tide of COVID-19 cases and deaths in these communities,” Jackson Lee and Castro wrote in the letter.

Based on the number of new cases of the past three weeks, Harris and Bexar counties, which includes San Antonio, are among the top hot spots in Texas, according to an unpublished White House document obtained by the Center for Public Integrity.

The report, which was withheld by the White House, found Texas as one of the 18 states where COVID-19 has gotten so out of hand that officials should start rolling back reopening efforts, according to the Congress members.

There has also a 60% increase in COVID-19 cases among nursing home residents since the start of July, per the letter.

“This is not a time for polls or politics,” Jackson Lee and Castro wrote in the letter. “This is a time for all of us to work together, state and local jurisdictions, to stop the spread of this deadly virus. We cannot wish this virus away and play Russian roulette with our citizens. They deserve strong leadership that will make tough decisions to get us out of this surging pandemic. We all want to reopen Texas. We all want to reopen America. But we must be realistic and listen to scientists and medical professionals.”


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