GOP senator: National shelter-in-place order would be an 'overreaction'

GOP senator: National shelter-in-place order would be an 'overreaction'
© Greg Nash

Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn presses DOJ to release results of investigation into Larry Nassar probe Minority caucuses call for quick action on police reform 7 GOP senators slam State Dept for 'slow and inefficient policy' on passports MORE (R-Texas) said on Thursday that he did not believe the administration should try to institute a national shelter-in-place order because areas of the country have been affected differently by the coronavirus outbreak.

"Not every place is the same. We’ve had the same conversation in Texas, but some places we have more cows than people, and the virus loves the crowd, loves congestion, and that's why you see places like New York and Dallas, for example, which is having its own struggles," he said.

"I mean, we know what to do. We need the social separation and the hygiene, while we continue to test for cures and while we continue to work toward a vaccine. ... Locking down the country more than necessary to defeat the virus to me seems like an overreaction," he added. 

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFormer employees critique EPA under Trump in new report Fired State Department watchdog says Pompeo aide attempted to 'bully' him over investigations Virginia senator calls for Barr to resign over order to clear protests MORE has refrained so far from declaring a nationwide stay-at-home order, even as some governors have resisted imposing restrictions that top health officials say will help slow the spread of the virus. 

"You have to give a little flexibility. If you have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska for example doesn't have a problem, it's awfully tough to say close it down. We have to have a little bit of flexibility," he said Wednesday. 

More than 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders for residents, but there are holdouts, mostly in red states. Texas, Cornyn's home state, has not issued a statewide lockdown, but several local officials have imposed their own restrictions.  

Italy and India have both imposed nationwide lockdowns to try to contain the virus. But Trump's legal authority to issue a nationwide stay-at-home order is murky at best, according to some legal experts, who say that, instead, the president could publicly strongly urge governors to lock down their states. 

There are currently 226,374 cases in the United States, according to Johns Hopkins University data, including 5,316 deaths.