Health experts in Texas have some advice for anyone living in an area where there might not be a mask mandate right now — wear a mask.
What’s going on?
The Texas Tribune reports that local experts are sounding off against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to end the statewide mask mandate on Tuesday, saying people should continue to follow proper health guidelines.
- “Despite the impending removal of the state mask mandate, we must continue our vigilance with masking, distancing and hand-washing,” said Dr. Mark Escott, Travis County Interim Health Authority, according to The Texas Tribune. “These remain critical in our ongoing fight against COVID-19.”
Experts said Texas residents shouldn’t use Abbott’s announcement to relax their behavior against the novel coronavirus, especially with the threat of variants, according to The Texas Tribune.
- “We are supporting that the governor does say just stopping the mandates does not end personal responsibility,” Texas Medical Association President Dr. Diana Fite told The Texas Tribune. “We are highly recommending that people need to follow the science, they need to follow what the CDC recommends at this point ... and those who are the categories that can get vaccinated need to do that as soon as possible.”
Abbott announced Tuesday that Texas will end all of its coronavirus restrictions starting next week with a new executive order, as I wrote about for the Deseret News.
The new executive order would allow for businesses to open at 100% capacity and end the mask mandate from within the state. However, local health departments can still enforce mask mandates if they so choose.
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said in a release.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN before Texas’ announcement that she doesn’t like the idea of states ending their mandates.
- “I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19,” she said.
- “Please stay strong in your conviction. Continue wearing your well-fitting mask and taking the other public health prevention actions that we know work,” Walensky said.