Greg Abbott's delusional ideas about Covid

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More than 8% of the US population is now fully vaccinated and many are wondering what kind of activities are safe once vaccinated. The CDC issued new guidance today. CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest from Austin, TX.

Posted: Mar 9, 2021 3:21 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2021 3:21 PM

Gov. Greg Abbott's decision to "open Texas 100%," lifting all Covid-19 restrictions and end his state's mask mandate on March 10, is a political ploy that places his poll ratings above the health and safety of 29 million Texans. It's a wrongheaded plan that risks prolonging the pandemic and endangering all Americans.

When Abbott issued his executive order on March 2, he said, "People and businesses don't need the state telling them how to operate." His remarks came not long after a brutal winter storm that crippled his state's power grid, leaving millions of Texans shivering in the dark, with Covid still very active in the state, and its vaccination program stumbling badly.

Over the past six weeks, the United States has seen a precipitous drop in Covid cases and a dramatic rise in the rate of vaccinations. In Texas, however, recovery has come slower. On March 2, Texas recorded a statewide test positivity rate over 12%, three times higher than the national average. February's winter storm hobbled vaccination in much of the state, and Texas currently ranks 46th in the US for percentage of residents receiving at least one dose of vaccine. Only 8% of Texans are fully vaccinated.

This is not the first time Abbott has prematurely rolled back restrictions. Last April, with cases rising, and barely two weeks after telling Texans to stay home, Abbott announced, among other things, that the state would allow stores to operate on a retail-to-go basis and that he was considering "the elimination of the stay-at-home policy." He said: "We're now beginning to see glimmers that the worst of Covid-19 may soon be behind us," and added, "We have demonstrated that we can corral the coronavirus." He was tragically wrong. By November, Texas had the highest number of coronavirus cases in the nation.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Abbott's statewide responses have shuttled between restrictions instituted too late, and measures relaxed prematurely. While the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finally recommended on April 3 that Americans wear masks, it was another three months before Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate.

On May 22, Abbott allowed bars in Texas to reopen at 25% capacity, and on June 3 he increased capacity to 50%. But only three weeks later, as Covid-19 cases surged, he again ordered his state's bars to close. He said at the time, "If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars."

In October, Abbott again relaxed restrictions on Texas bars, saying "It is time to open them up." He added, "If we continue to contain Covid, then these openings, just like other businesses, should be able to expand in the near future." Once again Texas saw a massive surge in cases. On January 5, Texas posted a single day record of 31,007 new cases. By mid-January, half of the state's ICUs were full.

More than a year into this pandemic, we know which public health mitigations work. This week, the CDC published a report of the effect of mask mandates and indoor restaurant dining. The researchers found that mandating masks was associated with a decrease in daily Covid-19 case and death growth rates within 20 days of implementation. In-restaurant dining was associated with an increase in daily Covid-19 case and death rates.

The coronavirus is a relentless and opportunistic pathogen that flourishes when we let our guard down. It will not simply go away when we get tired of it. We ignore that fact at our great peril. When Abbott instituted a mask mandate in July, he said, "Wearing a face covering in public is proven to be one of the most effective ways we have to slow the spread of Covid-19."

He was right then, and he is wrong now.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1389443

Reported Deaths: 25592
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook55642910467
DuPage924131318
Will769631033
Lake683861018
Kane59457808
Winnebago34140507
Madison30959526
McHenry29200295
St. Clair28348519
Peoria23455343
Champaign21112155
Sangamon19103240
McLean18560188
Tazewell17232305
Rock Island15247329
Kankakee14562217
Kendall1328599
LaSalle12789250
Macon10998211
DeKalb10123121
Vermilion10035143
Adams8694127
Williamson7609134
Whiteside7199174
Boone683878
Ogle621183
Grundy598778
Clinton578991
Coles5774100
Knox5647154
Jackson510165
Henry507970
Livingston489991
Woodford484482
Stephenson482785
Macoupin478388
Effingham476972
Franklin454278
Marion4515117
Jefferson4424122
Monroe438694
Lee419354
Randolph416587
Fulton405359
Logan398364
Morgan393482
Christian383975
Montgomery379374
Bureau378484
Fayette322955
Perry320360
Iroquois314167
McDonough291051
Jersey271752
Douglas260736
Saline260457
Lawrence241127
Shelby232838
Union228241
Crawford214525
Bond208724
Cass203527
Ford189048
Warren184349
Clark183933
Jo Daviess182724
Pike182153
Wayne181253
Hancock180931
Carroll178537
Edgar177040
Richland176940
White170626
Washington164825
Moultrie163128
De Witt157229
Mason154245
Piatt152414
Clay149743
Mercer149334
Johnson148116
Greene145234
Massac135940
Wabash135612
Cumberland130219
Menard125012
Jasper116718
Marshall108119
Hamilton84116
Schuyler7817
Brown7326
Pulaski7007
Stark64824
Edwards57712
Calhoun5302
Henderson52814
Scott4891
Putnam4863
Alexander47411
Gallatin4704
Hardin39112
Pope3284
Unassigned512433
Out of IL350

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 751526

Reported Deaths: 13799
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033281788
Lake557151010
Allen41710692
St. Joseph36998565
Hamilton36604417
Elkhart29413461
Tippecanoe22914227
Vanderburgh22559400
Porter19359326
Johnson18477389
Hendricks17689317
Clark13228195
Madison13158344
Vigo12625253
LaPorte12420221
Monroe12211176
Delaware10968198
Howard10337225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8577147
Bartholomew8172157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7812180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6972103
Morgan6765141
Dubois6221118
Marshall6211116
Cass6017110
Henry5902110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509176
Shelby501796
Lawrence4745122
Gibson445094
Clinton442755
Harrison441775
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438490
Whitley406643
Huntington403181
Steuben400259
Miami395269
Jasper388654
Knox376391
Putnam373260
Wabash362383
Ripley347270
Adams345555
Jefferson336186
White332253
Daviess3033100
Wells295381
Decatur289892
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273172
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246136
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234631
Starke228058
Fountain221048
Sullivan214643
Owen212158
Fulton203042
Jay200932
Carroll193720
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166446
Parke149616
Pike138134
Blackford136232
Pulaski120747
Newton114336
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101914
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420