Texas already beat COVID-19.
The Lone Star State has reported no deaths from COVID-19 over the weekend, just 60 days after Governor Greg Abbott announced the state's reopening, earning backlash from the White House for lifting the mask mandate. Health data showed that no one had died from COVID-19 in the state in about 14 months and that the number of active cases in the state, which is now at 388, is its lowest in over 13 months. Hospitalizations were also at its lowest in 11 months.
According to FOX News, Gov. Abbott took to Twitter to share the news and thank Texans for their cooperation in fighting COVID-19. The 63 year old Republican governor also announced late Monday evening that Texas "will opt out of further federal unemployment benefits tied to the COVID-19 pandemic."
"There are nearly 60% more jobs open in TX today than there was in Feb. 2020, making these unemployment benefits no longer necessary," Gov. Abbott announced via Twitter, linking to his official statement, which also read, "The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state."
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.
"” Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 17, 2021
According to Breitbart, Texas Gov. Abbott decided to lift the statewide mask mandate in March during an event in Lubbock, where he cited that the vaccination rate, the Texans' compliance with face masks and protective gear, and the state's number of COVID-19 recoveries were the main reasons why he decided to end the mask mandate and reopen business at 100% capacity.
Gov. Abbott's decision to open up the second largest state in America was met with intense criticism from the Democrat President Joe Biden, who said at the time, "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime, everything's fine, take off your mask, forget it."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki also criticized governors who lifted their mask mandates during the first quarter of the year, saying, "The entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic."
Last Thursday, however, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its COVID-19 guidance to allow fully vaccinated Americans to forgo mask wearing and social distancing in most settings. According to the CDC, almost 158 million Americans or 47.5% of the population have been given at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while almost 184 million or 37.3% of the population have been fully vaccinated and therefore no longer need to wear masks in most settings.
Right now, Gov. Abbott's focus is to provide the citizens of Texas jobs as the economy gears up for a full reopening country-wide and recover from a year of unemployment. In his statement, he said, "At this stage of opening the state 100 percent, the focus must be on helping unemployed Texans connect with the more than a million job openings, rather than paying unemployment benefits to remain off the employment rolls."