At least 70 percent of Texas residents are living in lockdown as the governor continues to resist a statewide shelter-in-place

At least 70 percent of Texas residents are living in lockdown as the governor continues to resist a statewide shelter-in-place
  • Governors of some states, like Texas and Florida, have resisted statewide shelter-in-place orders. 
  • In Texas, mayors of the seven most populous cities came together to issue a nearly uniform lockdown. 
  • At least 18 counties, which are home to 70 percent of the state's population, have now been asked to stay at home.
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Texas Governor Greg Abbott left the decision on locking down residents to local officials. 

As of Thursday morning, about 70 percent of Texans had been ordered to stay at home. 

"The governor really felt like local control was the way to go on this because people really know their communities," Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price told NPR. "And the good news is, not only did the seven large counties do it, but now the small counties that surround us — most of them — have adopted it in one form or another." 

At least 17 Texas residents have died from the coronavirus and hundreds have been infected.

Supporters of Abbott's approach say it makes sense for the issue to fall under local control, that way rural communities can have more freedom.

Opponents feel that this is not the time for Abbott to be veering away from his usual tendency to overrule local officials on decision-making, The Wall Street Journal reported.

"It's certainly ironic," Austin Mayor Steve Adler told NPR. "I believe cities should be able to make decisions based on the culture in their communities, but it becomes different when decisions in one community endanger another one."

Austin and Fort Worth were among the state's seven most populous cities to come together to create similar lockdown orders for their communities. At least 18 counties around the state have also put stay-at-home orders in place. 

Texas's population of nearly 30 million includes more than three million seniors, and those who are over 65 are at an increased risk of complications from coronavirus. One of them, the state's 69-year-old Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said he wants the country to get back to work and "grandparents" like him can take care of themselves. He said he's "all in" on risking his own survival to get the country back to normal.

"Let's get back to work. Let's get back to living. Let's be smart about it," Patrick told the AP. "And those of us who are 70 plus, we'll take care of ourselves. But don't sacrifice the country."

Price told NPR's Noel King that, like Patrick, she feels healthy at 70. Still, taking a chance on getting businesses up and running isn't worth the lives the state will lose in the process, she explained.

"My children and my grandchildren, the last time O looked, would still like to have their Tootsie, that's my name, and all lives regardless of age and race are of value in Fort Forth," she said. "We all want America where it is, but we may be in a new normal." 

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