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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 CornynThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Capital One — Pressure builds as UK approves COVID-19 vaccine Biden brushes off criticism of budget nominee Republican frustration builds over Cabinet picks 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 TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds 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.