Gov. Abbott Prematurely Removed COVID Guidelines, It Could Prove Detrimental

Olivia Caggiano, Copy Editor

Yesterday, during a press conference in Lubbock, Gov. Greg Abbott announced he would be reopening Texas and lifting all COVID-19 restrictions in the state. This includes allowing all businesses to open to 100% capacity and removing the statewide mask mandate. 

This is not an appropriate time to remove COVID restrictions.

Since the start of the pandemic, there have been over 2.67 million confirmed cases and 44,400 deaths. When Abbott opened Texas back up in summer 2020, Texas averaged 5,000 new confirmed cases per day. Now, that number has risen to 7,000. 

As of the end of Jan., at least 50 Texas hospitals have reported that their ICU beds are completely full. Not only is this concerning for future COVID-19 patients, it also means less resources for victims of car accidents, heart attacks, or other serious non-COVID related incidents. 

It is no secret that this pandemic has been politicized beyond belief. There are automatic connotations that follow people’s opinion on masks and their effectiveness, and their willingness to wear one. 

The willingness to listen to scientists and doctors and to let go of selfish beliefs in order to keep others safe should not be political.

Masks have been repeatedly scientifically proven to slow the spread of diseases, not only COVID-19, and drastically reduce the risk of transmission. This is why doctors have always worn masks in hospitals and around high-risk patients. The mask does not automatically stop working and turn into a hoax because the government requires that one wears it. 

The vaccine is being rolled out at a higher rate than ever before, but in order to achieve herd immunity, at least 80% of the population must be vaccinated. Currently, only about 7-8% of Texans have been fully vaccinated, meaning they have received all required doses. If we roll back precautions now, we run the risk of the virus mutating faster than we can achieve herd immunity and then cases and deaths will skyrocket and we will lose control completely.

Gov. Abbott should put restrictions back in place and concentrate on vaccine distribution until 80% of Texans have been vaccinated.

Read more here:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/texas-coronavirus-cases.html

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/01/22/coronavirus-texas-hospital-capacity/

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/11/11/933903848/wear-masks-to-protect-yourself-from-the-coronavirus-not-only-others-cdc-stresses

https://www.statesman.com/story/news/coronavirus/2021/03/05/texas-covid-vaccine-totals-pandemic-year/4579588001/