Wednesday, March 03, 2021
Texas & Co. relax virus rules
White House enraged at states
“Now is the time to open Texas 100 percent.” With announcements like this, several US governors are turning President Biden’s administration against them. For the latter, the corona easing comes too early. They urge vigilance.
The White House has criticized the easing of corona-related restrictions in several US states. When asked about appropriate easing in Texas and Mississippi, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US had been dealing with the corona pandemic for a year. “And the whole country is paying the price for political leaders who ignored science about the pandemic.” Psaki warned that there is still a lot to do in the fight against the Corona crisis. “We have to stay vigilant.” President Joe Biden hoped people would continue to follow the recommendations of health professionals.
The US President himself said of the announced easing of restrictions: “I think it is a big mistake.” It will be months before all Americans can be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Until then, it is “crucial” to follow the protective measures recommended by science.
The Republican Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, announced that it would lift the mask requirement and all capacity limits for restaurants and other establishments in his state. “Now is the time to open Texas 100 percent,” he said. Abbott said with advances in vaccination campaigns and patient treatment, “Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus.”
The Republican governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, had also announced that all orders for the wearing of masks and capacity limits for restaurants and companies would be ended. Other states, including Ohio and Michigan, have at least announced easing of their corona requirements.
“Now is not the time to relax all requirements”
Psaki emphasized that Biden’s appeal to Americans to wear masks in his first 100 days in office was based on expert assessments who assumed that 50,000 lives could be saved in this way. When asked if Biden would like to speak to governors in the two states about the easing, Psaki said the president speaks regularly with governors of both parties and will be sure to raise the issue at the earliest opportunity.
Criticism also came from the head of the US health authority CDC, Rochelle Walensky. She warned: “Now is not the time to relax all regulations” and appealed to people to continue to adhere to precautionary measures to contain the pandemic, such as wearing masks, “regardless of the decision of the state”. The next month or the next two months are “really crucial” for the further development of the pandemic.
Biden’s predecessor in office, Donald Trump, had denied the danger posed by the virus at the beginning of the pandemic, later used certain drugs as supposed miracle cures without scientific evidence, and until recently made it clear that he found wearing masks rather annoying. Shortly before the end of his term of office, he and his wife Melania were vaccinated.
In the USA, more than 515,000 people have died as a result of a corona infection – by far the highest number in the world. Recently, however, the number of new infections has decreased significantly. In addition, the vaccination campaign is making rapid progress. According to President Biden, the US should have enough corona vaccines by the end of May to vaccinate all adult citizens of the country.