- Instagram / @governorabbott
- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a lot of executive orders, but he didn’t declare a state of emergency until a month after the state experienced its first coronavirus case.
Despite Gov. Greg Abbott’s frequent executive orders in response to the COVD-19 pandemic, Texas is among the slowest states to respond to the crisis, according to a new study by financial site Finder.
Finder’s report ranks state governments by metrics including the date of their first confirmed COVID-19 case, when they declared a state of emergency and when they issued stay-at-home orders. Top-ranked West Virginia, for example, shuttered schools four days before the state confirmed its first case, while Nebraska, which came in 50th, has yet to close non-essential businesses.
So how badly did Texas show?
Let’s just put it this way: we didn’t even crack the top 40. The Lone Star State landed at number 42 of 50.
Even though our state reported its first coronavirus case on February 12, Abbott didn’t declare a state of emergency until March 13 and didn’t order the closure of bars and restaurants until March 19. Schools closed the following day.
Texas’ statewide stay-at-home order didn’t come down until April 2, by which time the state had already recorded more than 5,000 COVID-19 cases and 90 deaths. What’s more, Abbott had to issue a video re-explaining his declaration after engaging in verbal acrobatics to avoid calling it a stay-at-home order.
Along the way, the Republican governor has drawn criticism from public health experts for his decentralized response to the crisis. He’s also faced barbs for announcing steps to reopen the economy even though it’s clear the state hasn’t yet reached its peak in cases.
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