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Top Houston-area official: 'We've got to fundamentally rethink strategy' in dealing with coronavirus

Top Houston-area official: 'We've got to fundamentally rethink strategy' in dealing with coronavirus
© Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

Harris County, Texas, Judge Lina Hidalgo (D) said Sunday that the state needs to "fundamentally rethink" its strategy for dealing with the coronavirus outbreak and must return to a stay-at-home order.

Texas on Saturday reported a record 8,258 new coronavirus cases and 33 deaths. Last week Gov. Greg Abbott (R) took a step back in the state's reopening and ordered all bars to close. He also instituted a statewide face mask requirement.

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Hidalgo, the chief administrator for the county, which contains Houston, said on ABC's "This Week" she's grateful for the new measures, but "as long as we’re doing as little as possible and hoping for the best, we’re always going to be chasing this thing. We’re always going to be behind and the virus will always outrun us."

"And so, what we need right now is to do what works, which is a stay home order. We don’t have room to experiment. We don’t have room for incrementalism, we’re seeing these kinds of numbers, nor should we wait for all the hospital beds to fill and all these people to die, before we take drastic action," she added.

Hidalgo has butted heads with Abbott almost since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis. While she called for more restrictions and a slower reopening, Abbott set an aggressive timeline to restart the state's economy while preventing cities and counties from enacting more restrictive local measures than those in place statewide.

Before enacting the statewide mask requirement, Abbott signed an executive order preventing local governments from fining residents who refused to wear a mask.

Hidalgo said Sunday one of the greatest challenges in dealing with the outbreak has been the "mixed messages from different levels of government."

"Frankly, if we had stayed shut for longer, if we’d open more slowly, we would probably be at a more sustainable phase in our economy. We wouldn’t be shuttering from open to close," she said. "And so, I’m glad these steps are being taken, but they’re just not enough and we have got to fundamentally rethink the strategy. The reason we’re here is because of that least common denominator strategy."