In case you are unaware, recently, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott removed all Covid-19 restrictions including masking and the closure of businesses.
He stated that “It is now the time to open Texas 100%.” While publicly he was dragged by most outlets including other politicians and members of the public alike. He felt for Texas it was the time to make this a reality.
He wasn’t the only elected official to make such a move as numerous other states had already made the move and even more decided to follow suit after this decision.
By Paul Staley
The public was so quick to condemn him, even President Joe Biden got in on the action and said “I hope everybody’s realized by now, these masks make a difference.” But it got even worse in the public bashing domain when Vanity Fair said “Texas and Mississippi are duking it out to see who can kill more people.”
Greg Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs in Texas said “It’s ignorant and reckless”. MSNBC even went public to say “It’s the equivalent of being in a death cult.” So as you can see, it should go without saying that a decision like this for a politician isn’t easy to make and comes with heavy criticism.
From a Canadian perspective, we have the blessing? (not really) of being well behind the U.S in terms of vaccination and restriction lifting. But when you’re given lemons we need to make lemonade. We can look to our brothers and sisters to the south and take the data that they have given to us and use it to our benefit. Questions like how many cases post mandate lifting are there? What does handling them look like? How many people need to be vaccinated before we can make this decision safely for the benefit of all our citizens? Because as we know public health is to look at “all harms”.
Currently, Texas sits at 2,252 cases on April 2nd. That came with less than 3000 people hospitalized which is their lowest since June. 86 new deaths were also reported (data courtesy the Texas Tribune). Keep in mind while taking in this data that the population of Texas is 29 million people. Ontario for contrast has roughly half that at just under 15 million. So I feel obligated to point out the obvious but the same day in Ontario they reported over 3000 cases, so the state that has no restrictions is faring very well in comparison. One thing that needs to be noted though, is that 15.4% of Texans have been vaccinated. Ontario on the other hand has vaccinated 14.271% as per covid19tracker.ca. So in other words Ontario has almost passed the target of vaccinated individuals needed to lift restrictions to be on par with Texas.
Obviously, the political optics of this are of great concern to the decision-makers. But while Texas is free to be back to normal, Ontario remains the heaviest hit location in North America in terms of restrictions but without netting the results. If you had to ask the average person whether or not they’d be OK with government restriction being removed, namely the closure of businesses. I think the overwhelming majority would agree that it is time for it to happen. So is it not time for Doug Ford and Justin Trudeau to start the conversation?
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