Too Soon: Governor Abbott’s Response to COVID

Texas Governor Greg Abbot has established several precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19, like shutting the state down. On the other hand, he has made many harsh decisions that still impact us today. For example, March 2 was the official day Texas became 100 percent open. For quite a lot of Texans, mainly because we’re a red state, this news was spectacular, especially for small businesses. Could cases inevitably go up? Very likely, and health experts believe so as well. “Texas has been making some real progress, but it’s too soon for full reopening and to stop masking around others,” said Dr. Mark McClellan, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, in a statement in Texas Tribune.

It was too soon for Governor Abbott to make this decision because not even half of all Texans have their vaccine. In fact, we rank nationally low in the percentage of vaccinations. As of April 11, there are 19,312,495 doses distributed to the state, and only 14,685,955 administered. We are number 33 of 51. I’ve taken into consideration the fact that Texas is giant, but regardless to that fact, we aren’t ready.

His role as governor has strided between the left Democrats and the right Republicans, picking and choosing his decisions based on his opinion alone. Where does that leave him? Generally unpopular. In May 2020, Governor Abbott opened up the state after a month of shutdown to help stimulate the economy, disregarding the potential impact this might cause. “Now the state is experiencing rapid growth in caseloads and hospitalizations, and the governor is suffering politically for the decisions he’s made along the way.” said Texas Tribune back in July 2020. Abbott’s approval numbers have been steadily falling in response to his unwillingness to communicate effectively. According to one of Morning Consult’s latest surveys, they found 52 percent of Texas independents disapprove of the governor’s job performance, polling 2,536 registered voters, with a 2-point margin of error.

Shouldn’t his past mistakes be a reflection of why opening the state would be bad? During a press conference on March 2, Dr. David Persse with the Houston Health Department responded to Governor Abbott’s decision to reopen the state. “This virus is taking advantage of opportunities we give it, and we keep giving it opportunities, that’s a problem,” said Houston Health Authority Dr. David Persse.

Governor Abbott argues that COVID-19 cases are going down due to herd immunity. Later, He admitted to not knowing what the phrase “herd immunity” meant on Fox News. If we Texans were to strive towards herd immunity, then we would be at 80 percent vaccinated according to Dr. Anthony Fauci. The ugly truth is, only “…19 percent of Texas residents are fully vaccinated, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” said The Washington Post.

There is no herd immunity at a mere 19 percent. On April 12, 24,752 cases were reported, with Harris County having the most new cases, approximately 3,318. Summer will have its toll on COVID-19 cases, especially during holidays like July 4th. Just this Easter, cases shot up because of carelessness. “New coronavirus cases leaped in Texas in the week ending Sunday, rising 27% as 24,752 cases were reported,” said Times Record News.