- State of Texas / Screen Capture
"The public needs to understand this was a very tough decision for me to make," Abbott said of the mask order during a Friday interview with KLBK TV. "I made clear that I made this tough decision for one reason. It was our last best effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. If we do not slow the spread of COVID-19 … the next step would have to be a lockdown."
The TV appearance was one of three Abbott made Friday during which he discussed the importance of his mask order, according to the Texas Tribune.
After weeks of pressure from municipal officials, including those in the San Antonio area, Abbott enacted a rule July 2 requiring Texans in counties with more than 20 COVID-19 cases to wear masks in public. However, the Republican governor has faced blowback from conservatives over the mandate. Some 80 counties have opted out and others are declining to enforce it.
Abbott's media blitz comes as the state reported 100 COVID-19 deaths Thursday, a new record, bringing Texas' total death toll to 2,918. What's more, the total number of hospitalizations hit 9,689, also a new record.
"Things will get worse, and let me explain why,” Abbott told KLBK. “The deaths that we’re seeing announced today and yesterday — which are now over 100 — those are people who likely contracted COVID-19 in late May."
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