The Daily Escape:
Monument Valley, AZ – Winter 2019 photo by Petar_BG
“Gov. Greg Abbott announced…he’s lifting the mask mandate in Texas, even as health officials warn not to ease safety restrictions. Abbott….issued an executive order rescinding most of his earlier executive orders like the mask mandate…‘Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities. Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%…’”
Texas is among the worst states in vaccination rates, especially in the poor and minority communities. But to Abbott, that’s no problemo!
Like Trump before him, since they’re most likely Democratic voters, he doesn’t seem to care so much.
Biden replied: (emphasis by Wrongo)
“We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms.…The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking — that, ‘In the meantime, everything’s fine. Take off your mask. Forget it.’ It still matters.”
Biden’s calling Abbott a Neanderthal may make their meeting after Texas’s next natural disaster less hospitable than the last one. OTOH, Abbott is undermining a national strategy to end the pandemic.
Think about it: In a marathon, you don’t call yourself a winner at mile 24, because the race is 26+ miles long. Abbott’s declaring victory early.
America’s running a marathon against Covid and its variants. It’s a miracle that we now have three acceptable vaccines to combat the virus. It’s been a long struggle trying to ward off the disease. So many have died, in part because so many Americans have refused to stay physically distant, and when they can’t, to mask up.
After a year, we finally have a president who takes the virus and the methods to control it seriously. But there’s no question that a large sub-set of our people are either vaccine or virus skeptics who will refuse to act to protect themselves or others.
Leadership on the town, state and federal levels have worked to contain the spread of infections and deaths, finally with some success. And now, just when we can have some optimism again, when we can envision a time where we can return to some form of normal, a few of the Republican Abbotts of America pull the plug.
By eliminating Texas’ mask mandate, Abbott’s betting that fewer, not more cases and deaths will occur. Every time a governor has relaxed these guidelines, cases and deaths have risen. See this tweet from Julian Castro:
After @GregAbbott_TX reopened Texas businesses in May, we saw a 300% jump in hospitalizations.
The question that Abbott and other governors (like Mississippi‘s Tate Reeves) need to answer is, what constitutes an acceptable number of increased cases? Or deaths? If Abbott and Reeves are so concerned about the economies of Texas and Mississippi, shouldn’t they have figured out acceptable casualty counts?
How many Texans/Mississippians are worth sacrificing so that their states’ business owners can have a better year?
Abbott is betting that the pandemic no longer poses a serious threat in Texas. Here is what’s really happening on the ground:
Does Abbott simply care more about businesses than people? How can someone responsible for the health, safety, and well-being of his fellow citizens treat that responsibility so cavalierly? Presiding over a state that from a virus viewpoint, is a larger version of South Dakota, isn’t a great way to demonstrate one’s leadership chops.
What’s going on right now is a contest between the literally incredible achievements of medical science, and the almost literally incredible stupidity and perversity of our right-wing politicians.
Tune in to see who wins this exciting race! Spoiler, there won’t be any winners.
The Biden administration says there will be enough doses available to vaccinate every adult by the end of May. The soon-to-be-passed Covid relief package has money to assist states deliver their doses.
The latest KFF COVID vaccine monitor poll puts the “definitely refuse” the vaccine at 15%. They also found that about 18% had been vaccinated, 37% would get it as soon as it was available, and 22% would wait and see how well it is working. So, we might be able to get up to around 75% vaccine uptake voluntarily.
Having a President rather than a Twitter troll in the White House seems to be helpful. Who could have predicted?
Even with the millions of doses of the vaccines that are coming, a spike in Texas may mean that instead of getting them where they’re needed, we’re going to be spending time, money, and shots in a place that could have avoided another spike in the first place.
But most of the sociopaths in the Republican Party can’t accept a good thing, even when it’s handed to them.