The governor has shown a callous disregard for life and safety in defiance of clear medical guidance and is risking the safety of our children and the recovery of our economy. — Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio
The governor has shown a callous disregard for life and safety in defiance of clear medical guidance and is risking the safety of our children and the recovery of our economy. — Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio
Abbott Criticized for Ban on Covid Mandates as Cases Soar in Texas
The dilemma sounded familiar. A prominent, ambitious red-state governor, who had staked out a firm position opposed to mask mandates and other aggressive measures to combat the spread of Covid-19, suddenly found himself on the defensive as cases and hospitalizations soared in his state.

First, it was Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida. Now it is Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, who is facing withering criticism as I.C.U. beds have dwindled to the single digits in Austin and health officials in San Antonio have labeled its risk level just a step below critical. But Mr. Abbott remains firm in his refusal to enact any statewide mandate while he prohibits local officials from doing so in their own communities.

The fear and frustration comes as schools are prepared to reopen in the nation’s second most populous state, raising worries about further spread of the virus.

“The governor has shown a callous disregard for life and safety in defiance of clear medical guidance and is risking the safety of our children and the recovery of our economy,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg of San Antonio said.

... Despite his current hard line, Mr. Abbott has had varied approaches to the pandemic.

His previous statewide restrictions, enacted in March of last year, included a mask mandate, as well as limiting social gatherings to 10 people and closing some businesses such as gyms. Those that remained open operated at a limited capacity.

The state lifted the mandates last March, citing the presence of vaccines and its own projection that seven million people in the state would receive a shot by mid-March.


But in the months since, with the Delta variant ripping apart optimistic projections around the country, coronavirus cases steadily climbed until the state reached its current status: more than 12,000 new cases a day on average, a 134 percent increase within the last two weeks, and nearly 8,000 hospitalizations, according to a New York Times database. Only 44 percent of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated, which is well below the national average of 50 percent.

“Over the last few weeks, Texas has been in the leading edge of the resurgence,” Lauren Ancel Meyers, a professor at the University of Texas at Austin and the director of the university’s Covid-19 model consortium, said.

... “I’d say we’re in a pretty dire place,” Mayor Steve Adler of Austin said. “The numbers in our hospitals are approaching the highest that we have seen during the whole pandemic.”

Mr. Adler and mayors in other Democratic-leaning metropolitan areas say the policies that Mr. Abbott and other Republican leaders are adopting against mandates are squashing the powers that local authorities have to deal with the virus.

“He thought that people had a right not to get vaccinated,” Mr. Adler said. “But I don’t think people have the right to put the rest of the community at risk.”
Read the full article: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/08/09/us/texas-mask-mandate-abbott.html