By Tom Ozimek
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday insisted that there would be no more lockdowns in the Lone Star state, calling it the “wrong course” amid the pandemic, saying instead that vaccines and other safety measures are the right way to fight the outbreak.
Abbott made the remarks during a speech at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association’s National Convention in Dallas, Texas, on Aug. 4, which was first reported by CBS Dallas–Ft. Worth.
Crediting avoiding business shutdowns during the outbreak for driving the strength of the Texas economy, Abbott acknowledged the importance of safety measures to curb the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“Safe practices are important. That said, one thing that we learned along the way is lockdowns are wrong during the course of a pandemic,” Abbott said.
While Abbott did not go into detail about why lockdowns aren’t the way to go to combat the outbreak, some studies and experts have concluded that such measures not only didn’t protect the vulnerable, but harmed them and shifted the morbidity and mortality burden to the underprivileged.
The Texas governor instead stressed the availability of vaccines and other voluntary safety measures as the right way forward.
“The surest way to end the pandemic is for everyone who wants one to make sure they get the vaccine,” Abbott said. “That said, going forward in Texas, there will not be any government-imposed shutdowns or mask mandates.”
Stressing personal choice and individual responsibility, Abbott added that awareness of COVID-19 safety measures is high among the public and “everyone can voluntarily implement the mandates that are safest for them.”
The issue of lockdowns has once again come to the forefront amid concern about the spread of the Delta variant, which has prompted a reversal of federal masking guidelines and driven renewed restrictions across the country. Still, White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Aug. 1 that enough people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 to avoid another round of lockdowns.
“I don’t think we’re going to see lockdowns,” Fauci, who also serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s “This Week.”
“I think we have enough of the percentage of people in the country—not enough to crush the outbreak—but I believe enough to not allow us to get into the situation we were in last winter,” Fauci added.
Abbott’s lockdown remarks came the day after President Joe Biden took aim at Republican-led states for passing legislation that forbids mask mandates or bans universities and businesses from requiring students and staff to wear masks or get vaccinated.
“Some state officials are passing laws or signing orders that forbid people from doing the right thing,” Biden said at a White House briefing, in which he said Texas and Florida now account for one third of all new COVID-19 cases in the United States.
“The most extreme of those measures is like the one in Texas that say state universities or community colleges could be fined if it allows a teacher to ask her unvaccinated students to wear a mask,” Biden added.
In an executive order issued on July 29, Abbott said that government entities such as county, city, school district, or public health authorities risk a $1,000 fine if they try to impose mask mandates.
The order also specifies that government entities cannot “compel any individual to receive a COVID-19 vaccine administered under an emergency use authorization.”
As per the order, Texas residents are strongly encouraged to follow good hygiene and social distancing and, in areas where the COVID-19 transmission rate is high, people are encouraged to follow safety practices such as wearing face coverings.