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Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who asked for the statement on Monday, welcomed the move.
“Texas is actively pursuing and implementing all the strategies necessary to limit the impact of COVID-19, and I thank President Trump for his prompt action,” he said in a statement. “The president’s statement opens up new sources of funding for individual and public assistance that will help Texas respond to this public health emergency and protect public health and safety.”
The move makes federal funding available to the state and has affected local governments, as well as some non-profit organizations, according to the White House. Affected people across the state will also be eligible for crisis counseling funding.
Abbott asked for the statement in a letter to President Trump on Monday.
“The true costs of this disaster are unknown and it will take years to determine them,” he wrote at the time. “But the economic impacts of COVID-19 have already started.”
Abbott released an executive order last week closing schools, restaurants, bars and gyms in the face of the epidemic.
But, as the governor wrote to the president, “local jurisdictions are losing tax revenue. Businesses lose revenue, employees are out of work, and hourly workers are laid off. “
He also noted other blows to the state’s economy – the cancellations of South by Southwest (SXSW), the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and major sporting events in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.
Texas has since confirmed at least 1,031 total cases of coronavirus, becoming the 12th state with more than 1,000 cases, up from around 221 last Thursday when the closure order was issued.
The state’s estimated population in 2019 was nearly 29 million, according to Abbott’s letter, which cited the US Census Bureau – also noting that “even a small percentage of infection can be overwhelming.”
Nationwide, at least 60,000 cases were confirmed Wednesday afternoon, of which about half were reported in New York alone. More than 800 people died in the United States
Cases worldwide have exceeded 450,000, with more than 20,500 deaths.