‘We’ll leave the light on for you” is a motel chain’s slogan. It also appears to be a principal coronavirus measure for the state of Texas, where the number of available hospital beds is more influential with top leaders than the number of sick or dying Texans.

It’s one of Gov. Greg Abbott’s key measures of how things are going: How many beds are still available for treating COVID-19 patients? And it’s the defensive answer to the question of the moment in Texas: How did a state that apparently had a leash on the virus in April manage to cut it loose in May and June?

Ross Ramsey is executive editor and co-founder of The Texas Tribune, a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. This analysis originated at texastribune.com. Contact Ramsey at rramsey@texastribune.org.

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