Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaks during a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Sunday, March 29, 2020. (Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images)

In Leaked Audio, Texas Governor Admits Reopening Economy Will Lead to 'Increase and Spread' of Covid-19

"Abbott does not care about the lives of Texans... Our governor is morally bankrupt."

Jake Johnson

Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, admitted in a private call with lawmakers last week that his decision to lift Covid-19 safety guidelines and reopen the state's economy "will lead to an increase and spread" of the virus that has infected more than 34,000 Texans and killed nearly 1,000.

"How do we know reopening businesses won't result in faster spread of more cases of COVID-19?" Abbott asked during a Friday call with members of the Texas legislature and Congress. "Listen, the fact of the matter is pretty much every scientific and medical report shows that whenever you have a reopening—whether you want to call it a reopening of businesses or of just a reopening of society—in the aftermath of something like this, it actually will lead to an increase and spread. It's almost ipso facto."

An short audio clip of the call, which took place a day after Abbott allowed his stay-at-home order to expire, was obtained by The Daily Beast on Tuesday.

Listen to the clip:

As The Daily Beast reported, "though Abbott has repeatedly said in public interviews that reopening 'can' or 'could' cause a spike in cases, the audio recording from last Friday's call appeared to show a more direct and certain understanding of the risks."

Texas is one of several states currently taking steps to reopen businesses even as public health experts warn of a massive surge in Covid-19 deaths if safety guidelines are relaxed. Internal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention projections that emerged earlier this week show that the nationwide coronavirus death toll could soar to 3,000 per day by June.

Last Thursday, the day before Abbott allowed Texas businesses to reopen at limited capacity, an additional 1,033 Texans tested positive for the coronavirus and 50 died, according to figures released by the state health department. Out of concern for public health, some local Texas leaders are considering extending county-level stay-at-home orders even as the governor pushes to lift restrictions.

On Tuesday, as audio from his private call went viral, Abbott announced that he will allow tanning salons, hair salons, and barbershops to reopen Friday.

"Gov. Abbott does not care about the lives of Texans, and specifically black and brown Texans. He demonstrates this in every step of his leadership," tweeted Rae Martinez, director of advocacy group Texas Rising. "Our governor is morally bankrupt. Your friends deserve better, your family deserves better, you deserve better."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·


PG&E Charged With 11 Felony Counts—Including Manslaughter—Over 2020 Zogg Fire

"PG&E has a history with a repeated pattern of causing wildfires that is not getting better," said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. "It's only getting worse."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Hold My Pearls': Debbie Dingell Lets Marjorie Taylor Green Have It Over Abortion Rights

The Michigan Democrat engaged in a verbal altercation with the far-right Republican lawmaker from Georgia on the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Jon Queally ·


Dems Who Opposed Pentagon Cuts Received Nearly 4x More Donations From Weapons Makers

The latest passage of the NDAA "is particularly strong evidence that Pentagon contractors' interests easily take precedence over national security and the public interest for too many members of Congress," said one critic.

Kenny Stancil ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo