Just over two weeks after Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted coronavirus mandates that allowed companies to operate at 100 percent capacity and made masks optional, the red state is still reporting decreases in the cases and hospitalizations.
The governor defended his state’s success in a tweet late Friday that said: “Today, Texas had the lowest 7-day COVID positivity rate since the data began to be calculated: 5.43%.”
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“We also recorded the highest daily number of vaccinations given to Texans: 342,849. More Texans who receive vaccines will keep the positivity rate low,” he said, adding that receiving the vaccine was “always voluntary.
Texas reported 2,239 new infections Saturday, about 500 fewer cases on average than the previous week, according to data from the state health department.
As states have increased the number of vaccines administered into people’s arms, health officials have warned states not to lift protective measures too quickly, as extremely contagious coronavirus variants are on the rise.
While Texas reported a decrease in the number of cases, the nation reported a 7% increase from the previous week, averaging about 7,000 new cases per day, said the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, at a press conference at the White House on Friday.
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“I remain deeply concerned about this trajectory,” Walensky said. “We have seen cases and hospital admissions go from historic declines to stagnations and increases. We know from previous waves that if we don’t get things under control now, there is real potential for the epidemic curve to skyrocket again.”
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Walensky said the US is vaccinating 2.5 million people a day, with more than 140 million doses administered so far, a trend that means most of the US population could be vaccinated in the middle June, if there are no problems with the production and distribution of vaccines.
“Please continue to wear your mask that fits well and take public health action now that we know you can reverse these troubling trends,” the director concluded.