Texas COVID Rate Drops to Record Low: Bless Your Heart, Lockdowners
Coronavirus cases have dropped to a record low in Texas roughly three weeks after the state lifted its mask mandate and reopened businesses.
“Today the 7-day Covid positivity rate dropped to a new recorded low: 4.95%. Hospitalizations dropped to a 6-month low. This week we have 1 million 1st vaccines available,” Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote in a tweet on Sunday. “Everyone now qualifies for a shot. They are highly recommended to prevent getting Covid but always voluntary.”
On March 2, Abbott joined a growing number of governors across the United States who are easing coronavirus restrictions. Like the rest of the country, Texas has seen the number of cases and deaths plunge. Yet lockdowners tore into Texas, telling it to keep the restrictions that keep people jobless, poor, and dependent. Just like the rest of the country, under the lockdown, Texas’ economy, the second largest by GDP in the United States and ninth in the world, took a huge hit. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than $42.4 billion in unemployment has been paid out just in Texas. From March 2020 to March 2021, 7.2 million unemployment claims have been filed in the state. The Texas Workforce Commission says that’s more than the previous five years of claims combined. Most who filed have since returned to work, but at last count, 322,060 Texans were still making continued claims for jobless benefits. On top of that, Texas is coming off a deadly freeze that led to massive power outages and food shortages. Amid the economic recession, and considering the accumulated expertise and knowledge on COVID spread and the cost of lives lost to lockdowns, the necessity of returning to business-as-usual was common sense — for many, Governor Abbott included. He said, “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans by opening Texas 100 percent.” At the same time, the governor noted that “COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.” Those words would make many Americans jealous for not having such a great governor (yours truly included). Many, however, unleashed a torrent of criticism on Abbott. “Absolutely reckless,” California Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted in response to Abbott’s announcement, while Dr. Fauci called it “inexplicable.”
Similarly, Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Democratic party in Texas, issued a statementpushing back on Abbott’s decision: “What Abbott calls pro-business is anti-people. Make no mistake: Opening Texas prematurely will only lead to faster COVID spread, more sickness and overcrowding in our hospitals, and unnecessary deaths.”
Those speaking up against the decision included health officials who got a taste of real power and do not like being disrespected — that is, they don’t want you to proceed with your lives and try to make a living without receiving their blessing first. Dr. John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, toldlocal lawmakers he “did not have a personal conversation” with Abbott prior to the announcement. In fact, three of the governor’s four coronavirus medical advisors said they hadn’t spoken with him. The fourth, Dr. John Zerwas, had spoken to Abbott and believed “the state mandate is in the rearview mirror” and that it was “time for personal responsibility” to take over, according to the Huffington Post.
Mississippi, which lifted its mask mandate on March 3, observed a 44 percent decrease of cases as compared to the average of two weeks earlier, according to the New York Times.
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