Abbott’s Motives Questioned Amid Criticism For Revoking Mask Mandate
Public health officials warn that Texas reopening so liberally will lead to more deaths. And others criticize Gov. Greg Abbott, calling his decision politically motivated and an effort to distract from his state's deficient response to recent winter storms.
Texas Gov. Abbott Faces Backlash After Lifting Coronavirus Restrictions
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is facing a torrent of criticism over his surprise decision to roll back his state's mask mandate and business restrictions -- moves that strategists and activists in both parties said are aimed at appeasing an impatient Republican base ahead of his 2022 reelection bid and with an eye on the 2024 presidential race. (Bradner, 3/3)
Swift Backlash After Texas Governor Drops COVID Restrictions
Gilberto Hinojosa, chair of the Democratic party in Texas, issued a statement pushing back on Abbott's decision. "What Abbott calls pro-business is anti-people," Hinojosa said. "Make no mistake: Opening Texas prematurely will only lead to faster COVID spread, more sickness and overcrowding in our hospitals, and unnecessary deaths. There is no economic recovery without beating the coronavirus pandemic. This will set us back, not move us forward." (Schumaker, 3/3)
Texas Doctors Say Gov. Greg Abbott's Decision To Scrap Mask Mandate Could Result In Another Covid-19 Surge
Some of Texas’ top doctors warned Wednesday that Gov. Greg Abbott’s sudden decision to ditch the mask mandate and lift coronavirus restrictions could result in a new surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths. And while they now have enough masks, ventilators and emergency room space to treat a new wave of patients, they say there is an acute shortage of staffers who aren’t already stressed out and exhausted from battling the pandemic for more than a year. (Siemaszko, 3/3)
Doctors And Local Officials Call Texas Governor Greg Abbott's Reversal Of COVID-19 Restrictions "Premature"
Texas Governor Greg Abbott's announcement on Tuesday to lift statewide COVID-19 restrictions was met with criticism from doctors and some local officials who say it comes too soon in the fight against the virus. "What I see here is a premature and misguided discussion putting our community at risk, and it's unnecessary because we're headed where we need to go," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. (Novak, 3/3)
Texas' health chief says he wasn't consulted before the announcement —
As He Lifted Texas Mask Order, Gov. Abbott Sidelined Most Of His Health Advisers
Gov. Greg Abbott did not consult Dr. John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the Department of State Health Services, before deciding to end the statewide mask mandate, Hellerstedt told state representatives on Wednesday. “I did not have a personal conversation with him prior to the decision,” Hellerstedt testified during a hearing before the state House’s committee on public health. The commissioner said he has daily discussions with the governor’s staff, though, and “both the governor and I are on the same page” regarding actions to prevent COVID-19, including mask-wearing and social distancing. Hellerstedt did not say whether those staff conversations included a timetable for lifting the state’s COVID restrictions. (Harris, 3/3)
And backlash followed in Mississippi, as well —
Governor Lifts MS Mask Mandate: Some Cities To Continue Local Orders
Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said Tuesday the capital city remains under a mask mandate and cautioned residents to continue to wear a face covering since many people still haven't received a vaccine. Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said his city's mask mandate will "remain in place for the foreseeable future," during a COVID-19 briefing Tuesday. In a Facebook post to the city of Canton's page, Mayor William Truly said lifting the mask mandate now is "premature and reckless" and that all residents, including businesses, are to continue following local, state and federal mandates. (Szymanowska, 3/3)