Gov. Greg Abbott announced on March 10 that he will be lifting the mask mandate in Texas, according to Associated Press News.
A premature end of the mask mandate could potentially risk public health at such a critical moment. The number of COVID-19 cases this year has been on the decline from 22,000 a day in January 2021 to about 3,500 a day in March, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. This has been mostly due to having mandatory mask-wearing and social distancing in place controlling the spread. A simple cause and effect.
Texas lifted restrictions last year on Sept. 21, which caused cases to rise from 4,000 a day in October to 20,000 a day in December of 2020, according to the Texas Tribune and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
It is a possibility that this time will be different as we now have several vaccines for the COVID-19 virus, however, there is an issue with that idea.
As of last Friday, only 13.6% of Texans have received a single dose of the vaccine. Even less have been fully vaccinated at only 7.5%, according to the New York Times. Texas is ranked No. 36 in the United States that have distributed the vaccine, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.
The decision to roll back the restrictions shows a lack of patience in letting the process work itself out and could encourage others to act out. It is like when an elementary school teacher keeps telling their class that if they kept talking, they would lose recess time. Then she leaves the room.
The teacher should not be shocked that one kid keeps talking, not caring about the consequences. If the students do not tell the kid to be quiet, more might join in.
It is understandable for many wanting to return to normalcy, being that some have not seen their families or traveled since the pandemic began. Others just want to stop wearing masks.
However, if the state moves too fast on opening-up, we could risk losing the lives of Texans just before the vaccines become available.