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New Mexico and Texas governors grapple with relaxing virus restrictions

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SANTA FE, New Mexico -- Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said New Mexico is not yet at a point where it can relax social distancing measures and reopen the economy in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday of a three-phased approach for states to restore normal activity.

The first-term Democratic governor and former state health secretary said that the state is not yet at a point where it can safely reopen and that doing so prematurely would guarantee greater transmission of Covid-19 and lead to greater illness and death.

“Please know that my administration is working doggedly to develop robust economic recovery plans alongside a plan for a thoughtful, staged and flexible reopening of our state,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “But first things first.”

Lujan Grisham has emphasized this week that virus testing, treatment and contact tracing are not yet adequate to rein in the spread of infection if social distancing requirements are relaxed and schools and nonessential businesses are reopened. She highlighted New Mexico’s commitment to a partnership with the White House to demonstrate the effectiveness of aggressive testing and contract tracing capacity.

Health officials reported eight new virus-related deaths on Thursday, the highest one-day total to date. In all, New Mexico has had about 1,600 cases and nearly four dozen deaths due to the virus.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to discuss his reopening thoughts on Friday

A big testing ground for Trump’s road map could be Texas, where Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has stuck close to federal guidance throughout the crisis, will lay out his reopening plan on Friday.

Abbott has said the process will be gradual, and he won’t reopen businesses all at once, but he is facing pressure from conservative lawmakers to get Texas back to work.

“This isn’t going to be a rushing the gates, everyone is able to suddenly reopen all at once,” Abbott said earlier this week.

Abbott has issued what is effectively a stay-at-home order through the end of April in Texas, where officials in some of the state’s largest cities say they don’t expect the number of Covid-19 cases to peak until May.

The president's plan includes three phases:

In phase one, the plan recommends strict social distancing for all people in public. Gatherings larger than 10 people are to be avoided and nonessential travel is discouraged.

In phase two, people are encouraged to maximize social distancing where possible and limit gatherings to no more than 50 people unless precautionary measures are taken. Travel could resume.

Phase three envisions a return to normalcy for most Americans, with a focus on identification and isolation of any new infections.

KVIA ABC-7

Associated Press

Comments

2 Comments

  1. There seems to be a disconnect between the availability of testing machines and the number of people that can/or should be tested. Every clinic/primary care point or these little emergency rooms should be testing everyone/anyone walking though the doors. If not why not, and if not now, when?

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