Story at a glance

  • Both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced Tuesday they were lifting mask mandates in their states and allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity.
  • “I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines — particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from 55 [thousand] to 70,000 infections per day in the United States,” Fauci said.
  • This comes as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has strongly cautioned against such easing restrictions.

The nation’s top infectious diseases expert says now is not the time to be rolling back coronavirus restrictions as Texas and Mississippi have scrapped statewide mask mandates and are allowing businesses to reopen to 100 percent capacity. 

“It just is inexplicable why you would want to pull back now,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Erin Burnett. 


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“I understand the need to want to get back to normality, but you’re only going to set yourself back if you just completely push aside the public health guidelines — particularly when we’re dealing with anywhere from 55 [thousand] to 70,000 infections per day in the United States,” he said. 

President Biden on Wednesday also called out the two governors, calling their decisions “Neanderthal thinking.” 

Both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) announced Tuesday they were lifting mask mandates in their states and allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity, defying the warning of public health officials that easing such mandates could lead to another spike in COVID-19 cases, especially as variants continue to spread.

Both governors urged residents to continue adhering to public health guidance to stop the spread of COVID-19, but said doing so is a personal responsibility their state government no longer needs to require. They cited a drop in cases, hospitalizations and the rollout of vaccines as justification to do so. 

“Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them,” Reeves said

This comes as Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky has strongly cautioned against such easing restrictions. 

“I am really worried about reports that more states are rolling back the exact public health measures we have recommended to protect people from COVID-19,” Walensky said during a White House COVID-19 briefing Monday. “Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases with variants spreading we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained.”


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW

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Published on Mar 04, 2021