On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott rescinded most of the Covid restrictions that were earlier imposed by the state. He removed the mask mandate and said that businesses in Texas would be allowed to open “100%” from March 10. The Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves made a similar announcement at a similar time.
On Wednesday, Joe Biden criticized the governors in a strong statement saying that the lifting of Covid protocols was a “big mistake.” He added that “the last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking.”
The Texan told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that the comment was not the type of word a president should be using. He also blamed immigrants for spreading the coronavirus as they crossed the Southern border. The GOP Governor also said that the Biden administration had not tested them for COVID-19.
He said that the Biden administration had been releasing immigrants in South Texas and they have been exposing Texans to the Covid. He added that some of those people had been put on buses, taking the same Covid to other states in the nation and that was the Neanderthal-type approach to dealing with the Covid situation.
On Tuesday, Telemundo had reported that 108 migrants who were released by the Border Patrol in Brownsville, Texas had tested positive, since the city began testing on January 25. This was 6.3% of all those who took the test.
Senior health officials have been requesting states not to remove the restrictions that are being enforced as they fear that highly transmitted variants could emerge, negating the efficacy of the vaccine drive.
Abbott upheld his decision on relaxing Covid protocols saying that people were aware and that infections were at “four-month lows” but infections have crept up and new cases on a daily basis are growing by 13% when compared with last week.
Abbot mentioned that the spread of the coronavirus over the holiday was a result of indoor gatherings rather than spread at restaurants and businesses. He said that the recently lifted restrictions were “not really that transformative” because Texas’ mask mandate wasn’t enforced and businesses were already at 75% capacity.
On Wednesday, White House secretary Jen Psaki told reporters, “This entire country has paid the price for political leaders who ignored the science when it comes to the pandemic.”