He won’t listen, but maybe some of the people who would have stopped wearing their masks will.
On March 2, Gov. Greg Abbott announced the issuance of a new executive order, which “re-opens” Texas. The new order, which takes effect Wednesday, March 10, also terminates the statewide mask mandate.
As a health system, we respect the governor and recognize that he has an incredibly difficult job right now; however, we disagree with the terms and the timing of this new order, and strongly encourage him to reconsider this decision.
Additionally, we are deeply concerned about the timing of this decision, especially as we have just learned that all of the major new COVID-19 variants, which seem to be more dangerous and more transmissible, have now been identified in Houston; in fact, we are the first major U.S. city to confirm that all of these new variants are active in our community. Even more, for the first time in many weeks, the number of new cases reported around the world is higher than it was a week ago. Finally, we are gravely concerned that upcoming Spring Break gatherings will result in surges similar to those caused by holiday get-togethers, or worse.
The pandemic is not over, and our safety measures should not be, either. We hope that by continuing to practice the proven safety measures and encouraging others to do so as well — and as more and more people in the greater Houston area become vaccinated — we can happily support lifting masking restrictions in the future, maybe even as soon as several months from now. But we feel that issuing this order at this time, considering the current environment, is premature. In the greater Houston area, it is clear that COVID-19 is not yet under community control.
You may think this is not particularly remarkable, but hospital bigwigs have tried very hard to stay out of political fights surrounding COVID:
Here’s that story —>
— Zach Despart (@zachdespart) 2:02 PM – 7 March 2021
And as for that mention about COVID variants in Houston, consider this:
VARIANTS IN TEXAS—An awful lot of dangerous variants in the Houston metro area. We have the more contagious & severe Flag of United Kingdom#B117, more reinfection prone Flag of South Africa#B1351, super contagious Flag of Brazil#P1 & worrisome #P2, plus 2 types of CA #B1429 & #1427. #COVID19
— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) 11:15 PM – 6 March 2021
Read that whole thread and maybe be a little scared. Definitely keep your mask on, and stay away from any business or other indoor location that doesn’t require masks. If we truly are on our own, we’ve got to take this a lot more seriously than Greg Abbott does.