Abbott hints at reevaluating state-wide COVID mandates. What do health experts say?

Posted at 5:13 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 18:13:28-05

Governor Abbott hinted at a press conference in Corpus Christi that he is working to reevaluate the statewide mandates related to COVID-19.

What do health professionals think about this?

At the press conference, Gov. Abbott largely discussed the state's allocation plans for vaccines, targeting seniors who are homebound for vaccine distribution, and ERCOT's role in last week's winter storm.

However, it was one question he answered briefly that has the whole state talking.

"We are working right now and evaluating when we’re going to be able to remove all statewide orders," said Abbott.

That prompt response has everyone buzzing.

We asked viewers on our Facebook page what they thought about the possibility of lifting the state-wide mask mandate.

The overwhelming majority are in support of removing the mandate.

But what do the health experts say?

"That’s some big decisions for the governor to make. We know now that COVID-19 is probably something that is going to stay with us. It’s not going to just magically disappear," said Amy Mersoivsky, Director/Chair of Nursing A&M Central TX.

The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reports about 2.5 million Texans have been vaccinated.

However, the state's supply of vaccines, according to the website, remains low.

Although Vaccine Allocation Panel has made vaccines available to some, Mersoivsky says we shouldn't let our guards down.

No matter what Gov. Abbott decides, Mersoivsky believes everyone still has a responsibility to keep our neighbors safe.

"We have to make sure that we are looking out for each other. If we’re sick, we still need to stay home. We can all still wear a mask whether there’s a mandate or not we still need to avoid the crowds," Mersoivsky said.

25 News also reached out to Dr. Amanda Chadwell, Director of the Bell County Public Health District, who said:

Data on masking does show that it has helped in reducing the spread of COVID-19, particularly when they are worn consistently and properly. Masks are not 100% protective and should not be a substitute for social distancing. A mask helps by limiting the spread of respiratory droplets that transmit viruses like COVID-19 from person to person. Public health strongly encourages the continued use of masks as we have clear and compelling evidence that they can save lives, and we are concerned that if the mask mandate is lifted, we will see a resurgence of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. That said, I know that without a mandate it will be hard to convince some to continue to utilize a mask. I would focus attention, in particular, on those who are at high risk or those that spend time with high risk individuals since those in those high risk categories are those we worry about most.
Dr. Amanda Chadwell

At this time, Gov. Abbott has not elaborated further on his comments as to when the restrictions could be lifted and which ones would be with the first to go.