Americans generally are not known for our patience. As residents of the world’s richest and most advanced country, many of us believe we deserve to have everything right now without having to wait. And this includes relief from pandemic restrictions.
Well, two governors this week have decided that their citizens won’t have to wait one more minute to be free of the limits forced on us by the deadly COVID-19 virus. https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2021/03/02/972952844/texas-and-mississippi-to-lift-covid-19-mask-mandates-and-business-capacity-limit
These two, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Miss. Gov. Tate Reeves, both Republicans, have announced that they are lifting mask mandates and are allowing all businesses to reopen.
Here are their words:
“With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus,” Abbott said in his address to the Lubbock Chamber of Commerce about his executive order that takes effect March 10.
“Starting tomorrow,” Reeves tweeted on Tuesday, “we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”
These actions are shortsighted and just plain stupid. So if you know anyone who lives in either of these two states, I’d recommend calling and saying goodbye.
These moves come shortly after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned that progress in the U.S. against the virus was “stalling.”
“Things are tenuous. Now is not the time to relax restrictions,” Walensky said on Friday.
And President Biden called the governors’ actions “Neanderthal.”
No one can question the fact that the last year or so has been stressful and costly, both economically and in lives. Countless businesses have failed and more than 513,000 American lives have been lost. And people are tired of the restrictions and rightfully so.
But we rely on our government officials to protect us and do what’s best to keep us safe and alive. What these two are doing, though, will cost lives.
Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke said “Abbott is killing the people of Texas.” https://www.newsweek.com/beto-orourke-calls-gov-greg-abbotts-reopening-order-death-warrant-texans-1573328
O’Rourke tweeted that the governor’s order is “a death warrant for Texans. Add them to the 44,000+ killed as he failed to confront the pandemic & botched the vaccine rollout. … And those who froze to death because he cares more about energy companies’ profits than keeping Texans alive.”
Is this hyperbole by someone who may be seeking political office? I don’t think so.
These politicians’ actions are like someone trying to cross a street near a curve in the road: You can look both ways, and things may seem clear, but, try as you might, you can’t see what’s coming.
It could be a giant semi going well beyond the speed limit. And if you cross and it hits you, well, actually, you would never know what it was that hit you because it will be horrific.
We are dealing with a virus that is continually mutating to stay alive, one that is as deadly as that speeding semi. We think the vaccines will control these mutations, but it really is too soon to tell.
It can take years to know how a vaccine works and what it can truly prevent. Ours have been around less than a year.
In fact, I believe that with COVID-19 only a year or so old, we really don’t know what’s going to happen, especially when we allow people to congregate again without masks, without social distancing, without proper hand-washing and the rest.
And, thanks to some incredible work by our scientists, we really are starting to turn a corner. But with politically motivated actions like these, we could all be smashed to bits by that truck that we know is coming but can’t yet see.
Remember, Americans don’t like to stay put. With the warm weather coming, Texas and Mississippi residents, being told by their trusted elected officials that all is well, now will feel free to travel anywhere and spread the virus as they go, making this more than just a local problem.
That things will get worse again is not a maybe. With schools reopening before they should, with restrictions being lifted before they should and with Americans tossing away their masks before they should, we are all gonna be in a world of hurt.
And, apparently, there’s not much anyone can do about it, except wear a mask, stay socially distant and wash our hands.
The bottom line? The next surge could be right around the corner.