Texas officially lifted its state-wide mask mandate on Wednesday, much to the chagrin of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director — Dr. Anthony Fauci.
As of Wednesday, there were 3,744 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Texas, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Business capacity limits were also lifted Wednesday, and some businesses are choosing to make wearing masks a suggestion — not a requirement — while others are still requiring patrons to wear them.
“It’s [a] concern,” Fauci told CNN’s John Berman in response to Texas lifting the mandate.
“We understand people’s need to get back to normal and we are going in that direction. But when you start doing things like completely putting aside all public health measures as if you’re turning a light switch off, that’s quite risky.”
He added, “We don’t want to see another surge and that’s inviting one when you do that.”
Texas mask mandate ends today.
“It’s [a] concern,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci. “When you start doing things like completely putting aside all public health measures … that’s quite risky. We don’t want to see another surge, and that’s inviting one when you do that.” pic.twitter.com/AhlI6bHTdl
— New Day (@NewDay) March 10, 2021
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released last week found that the effects of mask mandates and restaurant restrictions on coronavirus cases and deaths were smaller than people thought.
Counties that issued mask mandates saw cases drop by half a percentage point in the first 20 days of the mandate. Deaths dropped by 0.7 percentage points during the same time period.
The trend continued over time but topped at a 1.8 percentage point decline between days 81 and 100. Deaths dropped 1.9 percentage points between the same number of days.
Reopening restaurants, on the other hand, had no effect on cases and deaths in the first 40 days.
But in days 41-60, cases grew by 0.9 percentage points and deaths grew by 1.1 percentage points due to in-person dining.
Between days 81 and 100, cases and deaths associated with in-person dining climbed slightly, with cases growing by 1.1 percentage points and deaths growing by 3 percentage points.
Vaccination distribution in Texas is also increasing with teachers and child care workers most recently added to the list of people eligible to receive the vaccine, KDFW reported.
County leaders have told residents to get on a vaccine registration list regardless of age or health, as more doses are becoming available and the eligibility list is expanding.
As of Wednesday, over 4.5 million Texans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
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