Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order Thursday night that bans local U.S. mask mandates used to fight the covid-19 pandemic, which has gotten worse in recent days thanks to the highly infectious delta variant of the virus. The executive order comes after Republicans in U.S. Congress staged a protest Thursday against mask mandates on Capitol Hill, an unambiguous embrace of death and disease at a crucial point of the pandemic when vaccinations have plateaued.
“Today’s executive order will provide clarity and uniformity in the Lone Star State’s continued fight against COVID-19,” Governor Abbott said in a statement published online.
The “clarity” provided is that the governor “clearly” doesn’t care about the health and safety of Texans. If he did, Abbott would allow local governments to decide whether mask mandates are right for them.
Texas reported over 15,000 new cases of covid-19 on Thursday and 34 deaths, numbers that are expected to climb as the highly infectious delta strain makes its way through the unvaccinated population.
Just 43.7% of eligible Texans are fully vaccinated against covid-19, well below the national vaccination rate of 49.8%. But Gov. Abbott insists the pandemic is about personal responsibility, a ridiculous idea for anyone who understands how airborne diseases work.
“The new Executive Order emphasises that the path forward relies on personal responsibility rather than government mandates,” Gov. Abbott said.
“Texans have mastered the safe practices that help to prevent and avoid the spread of COVID-19. They have the individual right and responsibility to decide for themselves and their children whether they will wear masks, open their businesses, and engage in leisure activities,” Abbott continued.
“Vaccines, which remain in abundant supply, are the most effective defence against the virus, and they will always remain voluntary — never forced — in the State of Texas.”
The executive order comes on the heels of House Republicans whining on Thursday at a news conference at the U.S. Capitol that new CDC guidance on masks was inappropriate. The CDC has recommended that everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, return to wearing masks in most settings because of the delta variant, which has a viral load 1,000 times higher than the original strain of covid-19, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci.
The attending physician of the House asked that all members of Congress start wearing masks again, something that Republicans rejected at their whiny little new conference. McCarthy also falsely claimed that CDC’s guidance on masks was based solely on a 100-person study from India.
As the Washington Post reported Thursday, the alarm coming from America’s top infectious disease experts is from a variety of sources, all pointing to one conclusion: The delta variant of the disease is a game-changer that allows vaccinated people to still spread the disease, even though vaccinated people are much less likely to die and experience serious illness.
From the Washington Post:
The document makes clear that vaccination provides substantial protection against the virus. But it also states that the CDC must “improve communications around individual risk among [the] vaccinated” because that risk depends on a host of factors, including age and whether someone has a compromised immune system.
The document includes CDC data from studies showing that the vaccines are not as effective in immunocompromised patients and nursing home residents, raising the possibility that some at-risk individuals will need an additional vaccine dose.
But Republicans are still embracing their death cult, even in the face of these new challenges.
“Make no mistake, the threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,” Republican Kevin McCarthy tweeted.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic speaker of the House, called McCarthy’s a “moron” for his comments. And whatever you think of Pelosi, you have to admit she’s right about this one.