This week, for the first time since February, Texas logged 10,000 new COVID-19 cases in a day. That’s nearly a 150 percent increase from just a few weeks ago. And thanks to Republican leadership in the state, there’s no telling how bad things will get.
The surge is largely attributed to a strain of COVID-19 known as the Delta variant. And it is overwhelmingly impacting unvaccinated communities. Still, despite the alarming rise in cases and hospitalizations, Governor Greg Abbott is refusing to implement any health precautions.
In May, Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting local entities from implementing mask mandates. Public schools in the state are also prohibited from enacting mask mandates, which is prompting fears from many families as school is set to resume in less than three weeks.
With vaccines only available to children over the age of 12, health professionals are speaking out about the risks COVID-19 is posing on communities in Texas. Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston confirmed that hospitalizations for children with COVID-19 were increasing, and some patients even required a ventilator.
Earlier this week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) altered its recommendations for mask mandates, stating that unvaccinated and vaccinated Americans should wear a mask in areas with high COVID rates. The CDC also encourages mask wearing in schools for all students.
The Texas State Teachers Association is calling on Abbott to permit schools and ISDs the option of a mask mandate. But, Abbott won’t budge. On Twitter he re-affirmed his position, writing “the time for government mask mandates is over.”
Abbott is certainly not alone in his disdain for health precautions. U.S. Rep. Chip Roy had a tantrum on the floor of the Capitol about a reinstated mask mandate.
New chair of the Texas GOP, Matt Rinaldi, also rebuked the CDC. “You absolutely should not follow the new CDC recommendations,” he wrote on Twitter. “They are not based in science or good policy. Live Your lives.” He also threatened to cancel an upcoming trip to Disney World because they were reestablishing mask-wearing indoors for all guests.