Texas began a phased reopening of businesses on May 1. On May 14, it had its highest single-day COVID-19 death toll, at 58, along with 1,448 new cases, also a new high. Texas has had more than 1,000 new cases diagnosed every day for seven days straight. Does that sound like “time to reopen” territory to you?
Part of the increase in new cases diagnosed is that Texas is still ramping up its testing program, with Gov. Greg Abbott ordering testing at nursing homes and state health officials focusing on testing in meatpacking plants. But that raises questions, too. Questions like “You really thought it was a good idea to start reopening before having adequate testing to know the scope of the problem?”
Abbott argues that manageable hospitalization rates are a sign that it’s safe to reopen, and hospitalization rates are indeed important. But it’s kinda cherry-picking to look at that one measure when your testing isn’t where it should be and infections continue increasing.
Abbott isn’t alone, though. Many states have already started reopening or are starting to do so in the next few days, despite the fact that, at this writing, only North Dakota meets the White House guidelines. And the White House guidelines are weaker than the CDC guidelines the White House blocked from release.