The editorial board of The Washington Post joined the growing chorus of criticism being leveled at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday after he announced the end of the state’s mask mandate and the imminent relaxation of other restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
In a scathing column, the newspaper’s board described the decision ― which comes as daily new infections plateau ― as “premature and reckless.”
Abbott was “gambling with the health of his state and beyond,” it said.
“The governor’s decision may cheer those feeling rebellious, fatigued and impatient with the year-long pandemic restrictions,” wrote the board. “But the result of opening too soon will be viral spread, and more suffering.”
“The winter holidays and the third surge were awful,” it concluded. “A fourth surge — which could spread beyond Texas — is the last thing the country needs just as vaccines are being rolled out. Mr. Abbott is throwing a match on kindling.”
Fears over Texas’ relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions were echoed by White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt, who described it to MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Tuesday as “a mistake.”
Former White House medical adviser, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, warned Abbott’s move will “endanger the lives of millions of Texas.”
“This is his ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment and it is not a good one,” Reiner told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “We’ve seen this movie and doesn’t turn out well.”
Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) suggested Abbott’s decision was not based on data or science:
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), meanwhile, called it a “death warrant for Texas.”
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