DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) sharply criticized both Texas and Mississippi for their respective decisions to lift COVID-19 mask mandates and allow businesses to fully reopen, moves that AHF and many other public health officials and organizations say is a recipe for disaster in the race to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
“Just as the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations begin a downward trend, we strongly encourage individuals to continue to follow the protocols that have proven effective. Adhering to these protocols and focusing on a wider distribution of the vaccine will result in reaching the goal sooner than later,” said Anthony Snipes, AHF regional director for Texas. “Should individuals follow the Governors’ orders, there is no doubt we will see COVID-19 cases increase. Science, again, has proven to be the safest method and science tells us that wearing a mask is one of the most effective measures against the virus. Our hope is that individuals will conduct their own research, follow the science and make the decision to wear a mask. As individuals in Texas or Mississippi, we are not obligated to honor the Governors’ orders. We have the opportunity and the obligation to be courageous and stand firm to protect ourselves, our families and our communities by not following the orders.”
The re-openings and lifting of mask mandates were reported earlier today on Politico Pro. In Texas, the move, issued by executive order by the governor, will take effect March 10. In Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves issued a new executive order Tuesday that will take effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday and remain in place until March 31.
Politico quoted Abbott stating, “Make no mistake, COVID-19 has not disappeared, but it is clear from the recoveries, vaccinations, reduced hospitalizations, and safe practices that Texans are using that state mandates are no longer needed.” The news site also noted: “The announcements from the Republican governors come at a time when coronavirus cases and deaths have plateaued in the U.S., after hitting record numbers in January, and on the heels of good news for vaccination supply and distribution.”
However, Politico cited Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who said on Monday that she was “deeply concerned” that the recent decline in cases had seemed to stall as daily cases are still around the 70,000 mark. According to Politico, Walensky also said:
“Please hear me clearly: At this level of cases, with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” she continued. “… Now is not the time to relax the critical safeguards that we know can stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities, not when we are so close.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the largest global AIDS organization, currently provides medical care and/or services to over 1.5 million people in 45 countries worldwide in the US, Africa, Latin America/Caribbean, the Asia/Pacific Region and Eastern Europe. To learn more about AHF, please visit our website: www.aidshealth.org, find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aidshealth and follow us on Twitter: @aidshealthcare and Instagram: @aidshealthcare.