Health officials are increasingly worried about COVID-19 mutations spreading across the country as several states continue to open 100% and ditch their mask mandates.
On Tuesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that the state would be lifting its mask mandate for its 29 million residents and rolling back COVID-19 mandates. Abbott said the state would be back open “100%” by March 10.
“Removing statewide mandates does not end personal responsibility,” Abbott said. “It’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed.”
Shortly after Abbott’s announcement, the governors of Michigan, Mississippi and Louisiana eased restrictions on bars, restaurants and other businesses in their states.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves also announced that the state would end its mask mandate effective Wednesday.
“Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed,” Reeves tweeted. “It is time!”
Texas and Mississippi join 12 other states where mask mandates have been lifted.
Florida, which is getting ready for spring break travelers, allows municipalities to impose their mask rules and curfews, restrict beach access and place some limits on bars and restaurants.
Florida, along with Texas, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and South Carolina, are considered to be “outbreak states,” according to covidactnow.org.
Health officials have responded to new orders from states opening up by begging people to not risk another deadly wave of COVID-19 when the country is making progress in vaccinating people.
“We stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, according to the Associated Press.