Texas Governor Greg Abbott said Tuesday that the state is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases from people under 30. The state hit new highs Tuesday in the number of new infections and the number of new hospitalizations since the outbreak began.
There were 2,622 new cases of the coronavirus recorded Tuesday, surpassing the previous record that was set on June 10, according to the Texas Department of Public Health. The state also had 2,518 new hospitalizations, the fifth straight day of record highs. The number of people hospitalized has been increasing steadily since May 25, when 1,511 people were hospitalized.
“The majority of people who tested positive since the beginning of June have been people under the age of 30,” Abbott said at a press conference. Abbott said the increase could be the result of Memorial Day gatherings or from “bar-type settings.”
Texas moved ahead with Phase 3 of its reopening on June 3, with bars allowed to open at 50% capacity and restaurants at 75% capacity. Abbott repeated the warning from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that bars and restaurants would lose their liquor license for 30 days if they were not adhering to the guidelines.
“We are in the middle of a short period of time where all of us have to coexist with COVID-19,” Abbott said. “The reality is COVID-19 still exists in Texas.”
According to the Texas Tribune, data from many of the state’s largest counties are showing an uptick in cases in from young people. The San Antonio Express-News reported more than half of Bexar County’s new cases are people younger than 40.
“Younger folks: You’re not immune to this,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg warned Tuesday.
Abbott pointed to prisons as another driving force behind the increase.
Abbott said Tuesday that the state has an “abundant” supply of hospital beds The state has over 54,000 hospital beds, and almost 15,000 are free. Abbott said Texas is “laser-focused” on keeping the beds available.
While Abbott said he felt businesses have adapted safe strategies to reopen, he reminded Texans that the best way to avoid contracting the coronavirus is to stay home.
Meanwhile, mayors from nine major metropolitan areas in the state asked Abbott to allow cities to make masks mandatory, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reported.
“While it’s important to get our economy working again, we must also take precautions to avoid a massive influx of new cases overwhelming our hospitals,” the mayors said in the letter to Abbott. “And if mayors are given the opportunity to require face coverings, we believe our cities will be ready to help reduce the spread of this disease. We think you would agree that a healthy economy starts with healthy people.”
The mayors said many people are refusing to wear masks. Mayors from Texas’ largest cities — Houston, San Antonio, Dallas, Austin, Fort Worth and El Paso — all signed the letter. Those cities have recorded the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state.