Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is urging Americans to engage in "personal responsibility" after President Joe Biden pleaded that states should re-enact face-mask mandates.
So far, six states have rescinded mask mandates: Texas, Iowa, Mississippi, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.
What did Biden say?
Despite obvious evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are working, Biden expressed concern over states relaxing mask requirements.
"I'm reiterating my call for every governor, mayor, and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down," Biden said. "The failure to take this virus seriously is precisely what got us into this mess in the first place — risks more cases and more deaths."
In fact, Biden called wearing face masks a "patriotic duty."
"Mask up, mask up! It's a patriotic duty. It's the only way we ever get back to normal," Biden claimed.
Meanwhile, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told reporters she has a sense of "impending doom" that Americans will battle another wave of COVID-19 cases.
How did Texas respond?
The office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) released a statement after Biden's plea that called on Americans to exercise "personal responsibility," a subtle jab at Biden's demand that governments impose restrictions on their citizens.
Texans and Americans alike have learned and mastered over the past year the safe practices to protect themselves and their loved ones from COVID, and do not need the government to tell them how to do so. Removing state mandates, however, does not end personal responsibility or the importance of caring for family members, friends, and your community.
The governor has been clear in telling Texans that COVID hasn't ended, and that all Texans should follow medical advice and safe practices to continue containing COVID, such as wearing a mask. Texas continues trending in the right direction to contain COVID and save lives–our hospitalizations, active cases, and positivity rate are the lowest in months, and each day we are getting Texans more shots than ever before.
The Lone Star State officially ended its statewide mask mandate on March 10.
Now, nearly three weeks later, subsequent data show that COVID-19 does not necessarily surge without mask mandates.
In fact, frequency of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue on the downward trend in Texas — cases have fallen by 17% and deaths have fallen by 34% over the past two weeks — and there are no indications that those metrics will rise or that there is a lag in COVID-19 problems stemming from the mask mandate being lifted.
Mississippi has experienced even better results since lifting its mask mandate.
Meanwhile, other states that continue to require masks and place restrictions on residents — New York, Michigan, and New Jersey, for example — are experiencing a rise in COVID-19 cases.