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Inside Texas Politics: 2 weeks of COVID-19 shutdown cost $1.5 billion locally, Dallas County commissioner says

Commissioner J.J. Koch says Dallas County residents should expect two more weeks of sheltering in place, but social distancing measures could extend for months.

Dallas County Commissioner J. J. Koch says residents are looking at about two more weeks of having to stay in their homes because of the shelter-in-place order. 

Even after the county gets to the point where the coronavirus is stable, a certain degree of social distancing still will have to be maintained until the fall, he says. 

Koch estimates that the first two weeks of the coronavirus shut down will cost the local economy $1.5 billion.

Koch is the only conservative Republican on the Commissioners Court. Commissioner Koch has represented District 2 since 2018. He is an attorney with William M. Woodall, P.C. and is an expert in the field of legal technology. Koch earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University, and his law degree from SMU Dedman School of Law. 

His career experience includes representing Dallas County as a prosecutor and serving as an attorney for the Dallas Fraternal Order of Police.

RELATED: Commissioner Koch’s website

Watch the entire episode below:

Statewide Headlines

Jason Whitely and Ross Ramsey with the Texas Tribune discuss the toll that the coronavirus is taking on the Texas economy. 

Texas’ unemployment numbers jumped more than 800% in a week. It went from 16,000 Texans filing unemployment claims to 155,000. An economics expert at the University of Houston, says Houston, the state's largest city, could lose 300,000 jobs.

And Jason and Ross discuss how officials at Texas prisons and jails plan to stop the spread of the coronavirus in the state’s prison system.  Cases have already turned up in some prisons, including the Dallas County jail.

Newsmaker 2

Dr. Deborah Birx, the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, says now there are 60,000 to 70,000 coronavirus tests conducted a day. That’s up from 500 to 1,000 tests daily. 

Birx says that hospitals are currently prioritized to get testing results because they need an early diagnosis for their patients. Drive-thru test results may be delayed.

And governors are the ones to decide if their residents should be on a statewide lockdown, Birx said. They should study the data that’s coming in from hospitals and scientists to be laser focused on what needs to be done in their states.

Newsmaker 3

The $2 trillion relief package is likely the beginning of what Congress will have to do to prop up the economy in the wake of the novel coronavirus. Rep. Marc Veasey from Fort Worth, Texas, says the next wave of relief really needs to focus on small businesses. 

The District 33 Democrat just introduced a bill helping businesses cut through red tape and win federal contracts. He says a countless number of businesses in his district would benefit, and the majority of North Texas businesses are small businesses.

Reporter Roundtable

Jason, Ross, and Bud Kennedy, with the Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, are joined by Berna Dean Steptoe, WFAA-TV’s political producer.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area has twice as many coronavirus cases as Houston. The roundtable discusses whether Houston’s unified front with county officials is the reason for its lower cases.

They’ll also discuss the suggestion from some conservative Republicans that the public health concerns about COVID-19 are not worth shutting down the economy.

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