As we reach the first anniversary of the start of our year-long, COVID-induced Netflix binge, there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. Vaccinations, while having a tumultuous rollout, have steadily continued, and nationwide case numbers and hospitalizations have been trending downward. While these are positive developments, health officials have consistently warned that we’re not out of the woods yet and that we need to remain vigilant about social distancing and wearing masks.
Of course, that doesn’t matter to the Republican governors of Texas and Mississippi, who separately announced on Tuesday that they would be ending mask mandates in their state and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity.
Who needs the anti-life equation when you have the GOP?
According to CNN, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that starting March 10, masks will no longer be mandated and all businesses in the state would be allowed to start operating at 100 percent capacity. “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%,” he said.
I’m not even going to downplay or undercut the very real financial hardships that the pandemic has incurred. I have friends who’ve been furloughed and went months without work, I know how real that shit is. You know what else is a financial hardship though? Hospital bills as a result of dealing with severe complications from covid. At this point, you’re not helping anyone recover, just putting them at risk for greater hardship.
Abbott went on to say that Texans have “mastered the daily habits to avoid getting covid.” Oh shit, my bad, I didn’t realize the entire state of Texas learned how to juke a microscopic virus. Of course, we all know that’s just silly. You can take preventative measures, but there are folks who have taken all the preventative steps and still wound up catching the disease.
“Every time public health measures have been pulled back, we’ve seen a spike in hospitalizations,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a statement critical of Abbott’s move. “If we start the climb now, we’d be starting from the highest starting point ever when it comes to our hospital population, an unacceptable and dangerous proposition.”
As previously mentioned, Abbott wasn’t alone in doing the wrong thing. Mississippi Governor and general fan of the Confederacy, Tate Reeves, also announced that he would be ending the mask mandate and allowing businesses to operate at full capacity. According to WAPT, the new rules went into effect on Wednesday. Currently, only K-12 schools in the state have a mask mandate, and even then it only applies if social distancing isn’t possible.
It’d be one thing if the majority of the population in either state had received the vaccine, but as of Monday only 6.57 percent of Texans have been vaccinated. That means the majority of the population is at risk of catching and/or spreading the virus.
According to the Washington Post, President Joe Biden didn’t mince words when he reportedly said “the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking,” when referring to the moves Abbott and Reeves made on Tuesday.
The most annoying thing about this, as Hidalgo noted, is that we’ve seen this fail again and again over the course of the last year. Restrictions work and transmissions start trending downward, Republican governors to go “See! Everything is better now!” only for case numbers and hospitalizations to surge once public health restrictions have been lifted/loosened.
I’m fucking tired of having done the same thing for a year. I’m so ready for this all to end, but I know that making fool-ass, bitch-made moves, that are predicated on Republican feelings and not actual science isn’t the way we’re going to get to a new normal.
So as always wash your hands, wear a mask, social distance, get the vaccine if you’re eligible, and stay safe out there, folks.