In the past few weeks, Texas has become one of the nation’s COVID-19 epicenters, joining Arizona, California, Florida and other states as the new coronavirus surges across the country. Nearly two months after Gov. Greg Abbott began a phased reopening plan to revive the state’s battered economy, new infections have exploded in Texas, jumping from 1,142 on May 1 to nearly 6,000 on Thursday.
On Monday, Abbott said closing businesses again would be a “last option,” but by Friday, as new infections and hospitalizations kept soaring, he ordered bars to close and lowered restaurants' maximum occupancy from 75% to 50%. Meanwhile, some urban counties are making preparations to use convention centers and other facilities as potential overflow sites for COVID-19 patients after two straight weeks of record hospitalizations.
The charts below show COVID-19 cases in the state’s 11 most populous counties, which have recorded 64% of the state's new cases over the last two weeks.