Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott celebrated several milestones in his state’s fight against COVID-19 on Sunday, highlighting Texas’ progress months after President Joe Biden had mocked the state’s reopening strategy as “Neanderthal thinking.”
Abbott said in a tweet:
Today Texas reported:
* 0 Covid related deaths–the only time that’s happened since data was tracked in March, 2020.
* the fewest Covid cases in over 13 months
* the lowest 7-day Covid positivity rate ever
* the lowest Covid hospitalizations in 11 months.
In early March, Biden mocked Texas and Mississippi, both run by Republican governors and legislatures, for lifting mask mandates and pushing to reopen their economies.
“I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden said, answering a question from a reporter on the two states. “Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now these masks make a difference. 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. We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May to have enough for every American, to get every adult American to get a shot.”
“The last thing, the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask,” Biden continued. “Forget it. It still matters. … And it’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science. Wash your hands, hot water, do it frequently. Wear a mask and stay socially distant. And I know you all know that, I wish the heck some of our elected officials knew it.”
Abbott’s office later responded to Biden’s comment in a statement to The Daily Wire. Abbott Press Secretary Renae Eze defended the governor’s approach to the virus and said emphasized that Texans could make their own choices about their health.
“The Governor was clear in telling Texans that COVID hasn’t ended, and that all Texans should follow medical advice and safe practices to continue containing COVID,” Eze said. “The fact is, Texas now has the tools and knowledge to combat COVID while also allowing Texans and small businesses to make their own decisions.”
“It is clear from the recoveries, the vaccinations, the reduced hospitalizations, and the safe practices that Texans are using, that state mandates are no longer needed,” he added. “We must now do more to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans. The Governor’s focus has been, and always will be, protecting the lives and livelihoods of Texans.”
On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosened its mask guidance for vaccinated people long after many states had already done away with mask mandates. The updated guidance came after a slew of negative economic news came showing rising unemployment and rising inflation above economists’ expectations. As The Daily Wire reported:
Under the new guidance, the CDC says Americans who have been fully vaccinated — those who received their final dose more than 14 days prior — don’t need to wear masks for most indoor or outdoor activities. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said the guidance update reflects new data and scientific literature.
“Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Dr. Walensky told reporters in a virtual press conference on Thursday afternoon. “If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that we have stopped doing because of the pandemic.”