Despite a crippling rise in COVID-19 in El Paso, Texas, that has forced the city to open tent hospitals and refrigerated truck morgues, an appeals court voted 2-1 Friday against a temporary shutdown of non-essential businesses. The court ruled that there was “an error in the trial court’s denial of appellants’ request for temporary injunction.” As The Daily Beast reported last month, El Paso’s COVID-19 cases made up more than 40 percent of the entire county’s hospitalizations. And Texas this month became the first state to report more than 1 million cases.
The latest order overturns County Judge Ricardo Samaniego’s attempt to impose a city-wide curfew, partly to help “overwhelmed and exhausted” hospitals. Trump-loving Attorney General Ken Paxton had attacked Samaniego for what he claimed was an unauthorized use of power. He celebrated the Friday ruling on Twitter, calling the judge a “tyrant who thinks he can ignore state law.” Health-care workers dealing with record hospitalizations called the ruling “disheartening,” “very irresponsible,” and “insensitive.”