Abbott’s mask decision is dangerous

Recent+conversations+about+the+public+education+system+have+been+dominated+by+discussion+about+critical+race+theory%2C+and+by+extension%2C+the+place+of+race+relation+curriculum+in+the+classroom+at+all.+%0A

Juleanna Culilap

Recent conversations about the public education system have been dominated by discussion about critical race theory, and by extension, the place of race relation curriculum in the classroom at all.

Early Tuesday morning, the city of Dallas recorded its 3000th COVID-19 related death. A few hours later, Governor Gregg Abbott announced that the repeal of the statewide mask mandate will be in effect starting March 10. 

As of this week, Texas has reported nearly three million active cases of COVID-19 and more than 44,000 deaths. Now, as the state gets ready to pre-maturely re-open, those numbers will only rise, with Texas heading towards a dangerous direction. 

The removal of the mask mandate is reckless, dangerous, and a death sentence for thousands of Texans. 

“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Abbot said in his statement. “Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100%.”

All things considered, Abbott is right about a couple of things. Texans have been struggling with unemployment, small businesses have been having a rough time, and yes, these struggles need to end. However, if our representatives have shown Texans anything over the course of this pandemic, it’s that they don’t actually care about helping their constituents. 

If our representatives wanted to put an end to the hardships this pandemic has brought, they would’ve voted for COVID-19 relief, but they didn’t. They should’ve enforced stricter COVID-19 mitigation guidelines, and encouraged masks, instead of denying the virus, but they didn’t. 

If Governor Abbott cared about any of the things he mentioned in his statement, he would’ve put forth an efficient distribution plan for Texans to get their vaccines. He didn’t. 

The time for Texas to open will come when cases drop drastically, the number of fully vaccinated citizens is high, and the spread of COVID-19 is mitigated thoroughly. And that’s just not where we’re at right now. 

Masks work, and they are the simplest, most effective method to preventing the spread of this highly dangerous virus. Social distancing, staying at home, and making sure that essential locations are following CDC guidelines is the best way we can end this pandemic, and we can’t pull back on these restrictions when we are so close to the finish line. 

Less than 7 percent of Texans are vaccinated, which means that our state has one of the most ineffective distribution systems in the country. Rolling back on masks and social distancing will be detrimental to the fight against COVID-19, and all the facts support that statement. 

Governor Abbott is not a scientist or a medical professional, and it is his duty to do what is best for Texans after being given all the facts. Despite this, he is ignoring the CDC, WHO, and thousands of Texas medical professionals who are urgently warning against the repeal of the mask mandate. 

This virus is not a joke, and after a year of this, and 44,000 deaths, one would think that this would be abundantly clear. 

If Texas wants to be rid of the problems that have risen because of the pandemic, we need to maintain social distancing and the mask mandate, and enforce these guidelines in every way possible.