Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas announced on Tuesday to drop the coronavirus restrictions on state-wide businesses and even ended the mask mandate restriction. Texas joined other states of the country that recently dropped or relaxed restrictions after falling of COVID-19 cases countrywide despite public health officials urging against it. After the plunge in virus cases, states are also rescinding mask mandates and reopening schools, and allowing people to emerge after months of isolation instead of the uncertainty about the future of the pandemic.
Oil continues climb as West Texas Intermediate rises 6% to $25.78 US, while Canadian crude up by 6% to just above $23 US. Dow drops 457 (1.9%) as investors weigh long-term effect of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. S&P 500, NASDAQ each down about 2% while TSX gives up 222 (1.5%).
— CBC News Alerts (@CBCAlerts) May 12, 2020
Texas announced also to lift mask requirement and would allow all businesses to fully reopen, the bravest step by any state to remove COVID-19 restrictions as Americans all over the country are ready to emerge after one year of isolation in the outbreak. The recent move of Texas, with its twenty-nine million residents, goes beyond similar actions in other cities and states that are moving forward to relax as many restrictions as they can. As per the governor’s announcement, Texas will also do away with restrictions on the number of customers that businesses can serve indoors.
Like the rest of the United States, Texas also observed a drop in the number of cases and deaths. Hospitalizations in Texas are at the lowest levels since October, and the one-week rolling average of positive tests plummet to almost 7600, down from over ten thousand in mid-February. Only New York and California reported more coronavirus deaths than Texas.
The director of the University of Texas Coronavirus Modeling Consortium Statement
A professor of integrative biology and director of the University of Texas Coronavirus Modeling Consortium, Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers said that the fact that things are led on the right track doesn’t mean the country has succeeded in eradicating the risk. Furthermore, she said that the recent deadly subfreezing temperatures in Texas that left several people without power – forcing many families to shelter closely with others who still had heat – could intensify transmission of the coronavirus in the coming weeks, though it remains too early to tell. Further, she adds that masks are one of the most effective approaches to limit the virus spread.
In July, Texas Governor imposed statewide orders to mandate mask during a deadly summer surge. However, implementation was spotty at best, and some government officials declined to enforce the restrictions at all. And as the epidemic dragged on, the governor ruled out a return to tough coronavirus restrictions, arguing that lockdowns don’t work. Whereas, the restrictions raised tensions between Greg Abbott and his own party leaders. At one point, the head of the Republican party leads a protest outside the mansion of the governor.
Meanwhile, mayors of the biggest cities in Texas argued that the governor was not doing enough. Most of the states lived under mask mandates during the coronavirus outbreak, with at least thirty-seven states requiring face coverings. However, those orders are gradually falling by the wayside: Iowa, Montana and North Dakota also lifted orders to cover the face in the last few weeks. Democratic representatives urged Abbott to reconsider before they withdraw in Texas, Democratic representatives urged him to reconsider.