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Texas Public Health Coalition backs Gov. Abbott's gradual approach to reopen economy

While early indications show Texas is flattening the curve of COVID-19 transmission, the ultimate course the virus will run is far from certain.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Public Health Coalition supports Gov. Greg Abbott's gradual approach to reopening the Texas economy based on public health and the latest science, the group said in a press release Tuesday.

At an April 10 press conference, Abbott said a plan to re-open Texas businesses is coming sometime soon, as the State focuses on protecting lives while also restoring livelihoods.

Dr. John Carlo, the chair of the Texas Public Health Coalition, said while early indications show Texas is flattening the curve of COVID-19, community transmission is still occurring and the ultimate course the virus will run in the state is far from certain.

Mayor Steve Adler previously said Austin is not projected to see the coronavirus peak until late April or early May. 

And Dr. Carlo said it's important to remember very few of Texas’ 29 million residents have immunity to COVID-19, and most remain susceptible to infection.

"Resuming economic activity too quickly could reestablish conditions that ignite rapid viral spread," he said. "A second wave of infections could again threaten to overwhelm health care resources and re-interrupt business activity at great cost to the state and its citizens."

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While most want to return to business as usual, Dr. Carlo said certain standards must be met before Texans can safely return to work and school.

"These include immediate scaling up of COVID-19 testing so that all cases in Texas can be quickly identified, enhancing local public health capacity for contact tracing, providing adequate personal protective equipment for health care workers in all practice settings and documenting continued declines in new cases so that hospitals do not become overwhelmed," Carlo said.

By following the public health recommendations previously put in place, he said State and local officials have already saved lives. 

Dr. Carlo said any future decisions made to reopen the economy will be advised by sound public health science and made with Texas' top public health experts at the table.

“The Texas Public Health Coalition stands ready to assist Gov. Abbott and his administration in preparing safe plans to reopen the Texas economy,” he said.

Gov. Abbott is expected to announce a plan to eventually reopen Texas businesses on Friday, April 17.

WATCH: Gov. Abbott announces $50M in small business loans in Texas

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