No lockdown or pandemic relief as Texas braces for second wave

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Gov. Greg Abbott held a press conference on Thursday updating Texans on the second wave of coronavirus cases in the state.

No lockdown is coming this time around, Abbott said during his press conference in Lubbock.  

The governor said a new antibody treatment is already being distributed in Texas and that medical researchers are close to an effective vaccine. 

“It is important for everybody in the state to know that statewide we’re not gonna have another shutdown,” Abbott said. “There’s an overestimation of exactly what a shutdown will achieve, and there’s a misunderstanding about what a shutdown will not achieve.”

Coronavirus cases have surged in Texas since they last peaked in July. Sometime last month, Texas overcame California as the state with the highest number of cumulative confirmed cases in the U.S., just shy above 1 million total cases. 

On Thursday, Texas saw a new record: more than 12,000 new cases in a single day. The last time the state saw a surge this large, Abbott closed down bars and limited restaurant occupancy. 

For now, the state will follow the guidelines the governor set in place in October that allows certain venues to reopen at 75 percent capacity depending on the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients in the region. 

The state has already demonstrated its willingness to prevent local governments from taking more stringent action. Last week, FBI-investigated Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton scored a victory with his office after the Texas 8th Court of Appeals ruled in his favor to block a lockdown order in El Paso.

The update from the governor comes a day before Congress finds itself adjourning yet again without a deal on pandemic relief. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Senate Republicans are unwilling to act on a $2.2 trillion House-passed bill that would renew $600 weekly federal unemployment benefits and deliver another round of stimulus checks. Republicans are seeking a slimmer $500 billion bill without direct relief that was blocked by Senate Democrats last month.

The Senate has adjourned for the week and will not reconvene for a full session until after the Thanksgiving holiday, on November 30. 

Photo: Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via Getty Images

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