CHICAGO (CBS) — As Illinois today begins to circulate in a more open Phase 4, other states, like Texas and Florida, are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases and taking a step back.
After several days of a spike in the illness, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott today ordered bars to close, and restaurants to cut capacity from 75% to to 50%. Since early June in the Lone Star state, most businesses were already operating at 50% capacity. In May, some communities were banned from enforcing individual mask policies.
Dr. Mia Taormina of the DuPage Medical Group, said Illinois can learn from Texas’ missteps.
“We are able to start to interact in bigger groups and go to indoor dining and movie theaters, but if we re not wearing masks and we are not spaced appropriately, we are going to be very much at risk,” Dr. Taormina said.
Three weeks ago in Texas, the average number of new cases per day was 1,451. By this week, that number had shot up to 4,757.
Why did that happen? Dr. Taormina has a theory.
“I think some of the Sun Belt state didn’t have as strictly enforced policies as we have had in the Midwest,” he said.
Florida began opening widely on May 18. Restaurants, museums, libraries and fitness centers were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with some restrictions. Some beaches and parks could reopen with social distancing as early as April 17. Face coverings in public in many outdoor situations were optional.
The impact in Florida? Three weeks ago, the average number of new cases per day stood at 985; this week the number had quadrupled 4,013.
“I think Texas and Florida are good examples of simultaneously opening those doors, taking off those masks, and disregarding the social distancing,” said Dr. Taormina. “That’s why they have ended up in a heap of problems.”