In a potential sign of the rapidly evolving situation June 23, state education officials delayed an anticipated announcement on final health guidelines for the return of in-person public school classes this fall.
In addition to holding periodic news conferences, Abbott has spent much of the pandemic conducting multiple interviews a day with local TV outlets to give the latest on the state's coronavirus response.
Apparently for the first time June 23, though, he got some assistance from John Zerwas, the physician and former state representative who serves on Abbott's coronavirus task force. Zerwas was scheduled to make appearances on TV broadcasts in Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
During at least one of the interviews June 23, Abbott faced questioning over the apparent mixed messaging of pressing forward with the state's reopening while asking Texans to remain at home. Abbott defended the state's continued reopening.
"Remember this, and that is there are some countries in the world that have hardly any cases at all," Abbott told KRIV-TV in Houston. "Taiwan is an example where people are very efficient at wearing face masks but yet able go to work. And so what we have found is we do have the ability to have people to return to work as long as the safe practices are used."
Abbott has been criticized in recent days for continuing to urge Texans to wear face masks in public while prohibiting local officials from fining people who don't wear them. Abbott has allowed local leaders to mandate that businesses require customers to wear masks.
The Texas Democratic Party criticized how Abbott has handled the pandemic and his reopening plan, saying June 23 the governor "prematurely" lifted safety precautions and ignored health data.
"Finally, he refused to mandate common-sense mask strategies and still refuses to give any concrete policy prescriptions for the rising coronavirus cases in the state," the party said in a statement.