May 18, 2020
Statement by Texas Medical Association (TMA) President Diana L. Fite, MD, about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s announcement on reopening more Texas businesses.
“We appreciate that the governor continues to take measured steps to open the Texas economy, in consultation with his medical advisors. He – and we – continue to encourage all Texans to wash their hands regularly, wear masks in public, and maintain social distancing even as establishments open for business. It is particularly important – actually, it is critically important – that elderly persons and those with severe illnesses remain sheltered. We must maintain extra protections for Texans in nursing homes and assisted living centers.
“The physicians of Texas urge the governor and his advisors to closely monitor signs that we may have moved too quickly. That is not an indication of failure; rather that is part of the plan.
“The number of Texans hospitalized with COVID-19 has remained relatively constant over the past few weeks, as has the share of people we test who came back with positive reports. Texas hospitals have thousands of beds, ICU beds, and ventilators available should we need them.
“Finally, this cannot be portrayed as an argument between the economy and the public’s health. There is an undeniable relationship between the two. As huge numbers of Texans lose their jobs, we may be adding 1 million people to our already-too-high uninsured rate. As the economy declines, more people can’t afford to eat healthy foods, get regular medical screenings, or see their physicians when an illness is at its earliest – and most treatable stage.”
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320