The end of a mask mandate

Texas lifts its restrictions and mask requirement… and it could cause problems


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As the mask mandate gets lifted, some experts believe Texas’ COVID-19 cases will soar. After CDC studies on masks and indoor dining, the transmission rate could double with the removal of the restrictions in the state. They elected to go completely full 100% instead of waiting to ease restrictions slowly, and I won’t be surprised if we see the cases boost.

Carson Fox, Staff Reporter

It has been almost a year since COVID has derailed our normal lives. With masks becoming the new normal, we aren’t even phased by the current climate of our world at this point. It now looks like the light at the end of the tunnel is near, but is it necessary?

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that on March 10, all restrictions will be lifted, including a return to 100% for all businesses and ending the mask mandate. The decision came as cases dropped from over 10,000 a week in February to just 7,000 a week. Yet this doesn’t mean the disease is gone.

Dr. Lauren Ancel Meyers,a professor of integrative biology and director of the University of Texas COVID-19 Modeling Consortium, in an interview with the Associated Press said, “The fact that things are headed in the right direction doesn’t mean we have succeeded in eradicating the risk,”

While I don’t think pushing businesses to 100% is a terrible idea, it’s a little questionable to remove the mask mandate. Masks have consistently been the most effective way to combat the virus, especially in situations where social distancing is not possible.

According to the CDC, masks have up to a 70% effectiveness rate with preventing COVID-19. It’s a considerable number to think about when removing a mask mandate, especially by taking such a large leap and ending all restrictions as opposed to easing restrictions more and more every few weeks. A good sign for Texas is the vaccinations. Over 5.7 million people have been given a vaccine shot, according to Abbott. On March 2, however Texas recorded a positivity rate of 12% across the state, which is more than three times the average among the United States. Maybe the ending of restrictions would make sense for some states, but probably not a major state like Texas. 

The response from other states is what I’m most interested in. I want to see how many states follow suit right after Texas. I believe it could have been a little premature, or maybe Abbott should have chosen to ease restrictions a little slower, but this is a good sign in terms of life going back to normal. 

It’s a risky decision. Whatever route this takes us can be really intriguing. I can see this being a total disaster for Texas but I can also see it setting an example for the country to return to normal if it goes really well. I also understand the outrage and how some people can see this as a total miscue that can be detrimental to Texas. If it doesn’t work, it could possibly end up setting them back multiple months in terms of their shutdowns. Only the vaccines can point us in the right direction.