Texas is in the process of slowly reopening in varying stages even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, and make no mistake, Governor Greg Abbott is more than fully aware of the risks in doing so. He admitted as much in a phone call that was leaked to news sites.
In the leaked audio, obtained by The Daily Beast, Abbott can be heard saying that an increase and spread in the novel coronavirus is pretty much a guarantee with the reopening of the state.
“How do we know reopening businesses won’t result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?” Abbott said during a call with members of the state legislature and Congress. “Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It’s almost ipso facto.”
According to Abbott, the goal was never “to get transmission down to zero.”
“The more that you have people out there, the greater the possibility is for transmission,” he added.
A spokesperson for the governor told The Daily Beast that the governor did not say anything that was much different than what he said during a local interview when he acknowledged that “all scientists and doctors say that as we do begin to open up, there could be an increase in the number of coronavirus cases.”
However, as The Daily Beast notes, in that interview, Abbott linked that increase in cases to an increased capacity for testing rather than transmission.
“The governor has said this from the beginning. As we begin to open up, we will see flare ups, whether we open now or three months from now,” John Wittman, the spokesperson, said. “The key is ensuring we are able to contain that spread, which is where contact tracing comes into play.”
“There’s always going to be, with a rapidly transmittable disease like this, there will always be a level of transmission,” Abbott said on the call. “And even when you have an immunization come out, there will be a transmission rate for COVID-19.”