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Statement: Governor Abbott lifting restrictions risks lives

It’s not time to let our guard down on COVID-19
For Immediate Release

Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he plans to lift Texas’s statewide mask mandate and other precautions designed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) The governor’s statements came just days after the number of U.S. deaths attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic surpassed half a million people, including more than 44,000 Texans

According to a Bloomberg tracker, only 5.4 percent of Texas’s population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with 11.6 percent having received one of the two recommended doses. That’s far short of the 75-85 percent of the population health experts say need to be vaccinated to activate herd immunity and effectively neutralize the virus. 

In response Bay Scoggin, TexPIRG director, released the following statement:

“COVID-19 is now responsible for killing more than one out of every 700 Texans. While it’s good news that cases and hospitalizations have declined in recent weeks, and vaccinations are on the rise, we might see a case surge soon caused by circumstances beyond our control --. crowds of Texans had to gather at warming stations after losing power during the recent deep freeze. 

“Lifting safety measures that work to curb the spread of the virus, like mask wearing, is one of the worst things Governor Abbott can do right now. We should have learned by now that rushing to reopen businesses and ease restrictions across the state, before fully tamping down the virus, will lead to more unnecessary deaths. Now is not the time to let our guard down. 

“We have the ability to put the worst of this crisis behind us soon. However, to do so, we have to put public health before economic recovery. Before reopening. Before ‘getting back to normal.’ If we want to save our grandparents, our parents, ourselves, we must put public health first. In fact, the only way to repair the economy and return to normal at all is to put public health first.”

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