As Texas shattered a single-day record with 12,000 new coronavirus cases reported Thursday, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ruled out another lockdown and accused local leaders of not enforcing existing restrictions.
Texas is on the verge of surpassing 8,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients for the first time since a deadly summer outbreak, which back then Abbott met with orders that closed bars and limited restaurant occupancy.
But during a visit to hard-hit Lubbock, where the local health authority says the fire department is building shelves for the dead as morgues run short on space, Abbott made clear Texas will not retreat to lockdown measures again.
He focused instead on the arrival of a new antibody drug similar to a treatment President Donald Trump received after contracting the virus last month. But supply of the drug is scarce for now.
The largest hospital in the Rio Grande Valley, DHR Health, had 38 doses that it could begin administering soon as Friday.
The therapy is only approved for people 12 and older with mild or moderate COVID-19 not requiring hospitalization, and who are at higher risk of severe illness from the virus, including people who are diabetic or obese. Texas received about 5,700 vials of the drug.