Arizona, Florida, and Texas See a Surge in COVID Cases. Now Their Governors Are Singing a Different Tune.

Arizona, Florida, and Texas See a Surge in COVID Cases. Now Their Governors Are Singing a Different Tune.


By Brandon Gates

June 29, 2020

Listen to how these governors first reacted to COVID vs. how they’re talking now.

The number of cases among young adults has exploded since governors across the U.S. ignored the advice of public health officials and reopened businesses, restaurants, and bars beginning in May.

Last week, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cited Texas, Arizona, and Florida as states “with a serious problem” and urged leaders to consider pausing or rolling back stages of reopening. 

“I wouldn’t necessarily say an absolute shutdown, lockdown, but if someone is going from gateway to phase one to phase two and they get into trouble in phase two, they may need to go back to phase one.” Fauci said.

Several states, in fact, are backpedaling on their reopenings and ordering residents to wear masks. We took a look at how some governors have changed the way they talk about their state’s coronavirus response as cases increase.


Everything’s bigger in Texas—but Texans will have to wait for the state’s big reopening as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to rise. 

According to data from John Hopkins University, the Lone Star state saw a 79% increase in its weekly average of cases on Thursday. 

Gov. Greg Abott announced Friday he is rolling back some of what can reopen. All bars that receive more than 51% of their gross from alcohol sales were ordered to close at noon last  Friday. “Closing Texas down again will always be the last option,” the governor said days earlier. 

In an interview with KFDA NewsChannel 10 last week, Abott admitted: “There is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 across the state of Texas.” 

Texas moved into Phase 1 of reopening in late April. 

Although the CDC recommends using face coverings to slow the spread of the virus, Gov. Abott did not mandate masks to be worn. “It’s a mistake to impose these draconian penalties for people to refuse to wear a face mask,” told KENS 5 in April. “My plan, on every single page of the plan, encourages everyone to wear a face mask.” 

RELATED: Coronavirus Fatalities May Rise 150% in States with Republican Governors

Last Friday,  Abbott told ABC affiliate KIVA in El Paso he would do things differently.

“If I could go back and redo anything, I would slow down the re-opening of bars, the governor said. Abbott added that a “bar setting, in reality, just doesn’t work with a pandemic.” 

“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” Abbott said in a news release on Friday.


Arizona reported a record high of 3,858 new cases Sunday, with nearly 74,000 known cases in the state overall. The spike came as President Donald Trump held a rally at a Phoenix megachurch last week. 

In his weekly coronavirus update press conference on June 22, Gov. Doug Ducey admitted he was wrong about Arizona’s trending numbers.

“I said two weeks ago, there was not a trend here. There was just a lot of data and information. On this graph … looking at the last two weeks of data, there is a trend and the trend is headed in the wrong direction,” said Gov. Ducey.

Ducey also announced the requirement of face masks. 

“We are going to change an update guidance so that local governments can implement mask and face covering policies and determine enforcement,” Ducey said. 

This is a far cry from what the governor said a few weeks ago. 

“There are some people that can’t wear masks for whatever reason, shortness of breath or they are asthmatic,” Ducey said in response to a question about why he wasn’t requiring masks on June 13.


Florida banned alcohol consumption at its bars Friday after its daily coronavirus cases surged to almost 9,000. On Saturday, the state saw more than 9,500, a new record set just the day before.

“Continue to be vigilant. Continue to avoid crowds. Continue to avoid contact with folks outside the home as much as you can,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Friday during a press conference. A much more direct stance than he had just two days ago when addressing people that weren’t following social distancing guidelines. 

“If I was 25, I’d be, probably, with them,” DeSantis said on Wednesday. “I can sit here and try to act like I wouldn’t but I remember what it was like then.”

RELATED: They Went for a Night Out at a Florida Bar. All 16 of Them Later Tested Positive for COVID.

Florida’s governor also changed his mind on how the young people are affected by the virus. In early April, he said “I don’t think nationwide, there’s been a single fatality under 25. For whatever reason it just doesn’t seem to threaten, you know, kids.”

Last week, however, he admitted a rise in the cases among 18-34-year-olds. 

“What we’re seeing in Florida is really rapid transmission in that 18-34 age group and you’re seeing a lot of cases come up and granted they weren’t being tested at this level a couple months ago,” the governor said. 

DeSantis once heralded a “quiet May” and attacked journalists just last month for what he claims is biased reporting. 

“You got a lot of people in your profession who waxed for weeks and weeks about how Florida was going to be just like New York. ‘Wait two weeks. Florida’s gonna be next.’ Well, hell, we’re eight weeks away from that and it hasn’t happened,” DeSantis said. “We succeeded and I don’t think people want to recognize it because it challenges their narrative. It challenges their assumption. So they gotta try to find a boogie man.”


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