Joe Barbieri ’23
On March 2, Texas Governor Greg Abbott held a press conference where he announced that the state would roll back many of its COVID-19 restrictions, which include lifting its mask mandate and opening businesses and facilities to 100 percent capacity.
In the executive order, Abbott stated that “With the medical advancements of vaccines and antibody therapeutic drugs, Texas now has the tools to protect Texans from the virus.” Continuing, Abbott stressed the need of doing more “to restore livelihoods and normalcy for Texans.”
Along with Texas, Mississippi also announced that they would also do away with its mask mandate, with Governor Tate Reeves tweeting, “it is time!”
These joint decisions are not only disappointing; they are illogical and will do more harm than good in the long run.
It is no secret that every American longs for the days of normalcy before the pandemic began. And as we reach the one-year mark of the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declaring the coronavirus a pandemic, the desire for normalcy will certainly intensify after this lost and ineffective year.
However, this battle against the coronavirus has to continue. Masks must still be universally worn, social distancing must continue, and vaccines must be distributed not only across the nation but also worldwide.
To finally put an end to this dark chapter in human history, it requires a global effort. Countries should not turn inward. As a matter of fact, there must be a renewed commitment to global communication in order to put this pandemic to rest.
Unfortunately, the rash decisions of Texas and Mississippi dash any hope of that. While cases and hospitalizations are low right now, it is certain that a surge will occur due to not only new strains of the virus but also due to a lack of mask-wearing and social distancing in these states. The United States cannot be truly united if other states follow the example of Texas and Mississippi.
On the other hand, I do support states gradually reopening. With effective strategy and a strong mask mandate, we surely can get a glimpse of normalcy. However, we can not flip the switch to life before the pandemic. It is wishful thinking and will have disastrous effects.
As coronavirus continues to rear its ugly head, we must continue doing what we have been doing for the past year. That is the only effective way to end this pandemic and get life back to normal.