Weeks after President Joe Biden denounced Texas and other states for removing their mask mandates a year into the pandemic, the Lone Star State reported no COVID-19 deaths.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the milestone on Twitter on Sunday along with other statistics marking the lowest virus case numbers and hospitalizations in the state in months.
“Today Texas reported: 0 Covid related deaths–the only time that’s happened since data was tracked in March, 2020, the fewest Covid cases in over 13 months, the lowest 7-day Covid positivity rate ever, the lowest Covid hospitalizations in 11 months. Thanks, Texans!” Abbott wrote.
Today Texas reported:
* 0 Covid related deaths–the only time that's happened since data was tracked in March, 2020.
* the fewest Covid cases in over 13 months
* the lowest 7-day Covid positivity rate ever
* the lowest Covid hospitalizations in 11 months.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) May 17, 2021
Biden previously condemned Texas, Mississippi, and other states for engaging in “neanderthal thinking” after the states’ governors announced they would be lifting their mask mandates at the beginning of March due to access to the COVID-19 vaccine and the need “to reopen Texas 100 percent.”
“I think it’s a big mistake,” Biden told reporters. “Look, I hope everybody’s realized by now, these masks make a difference. We are on the cusp of being able to fundamentally change the nature of this disease because of the way in which we’re able to get vaccines in people’s arms.”
Other celebrities and public figures were quick to criticize Abbott’s decision and claim it would kill people. Even Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, whose state saw COVID-19 spikes despite his continued lockdown orders, said the decision to remove face coverings was “absolutely reckless.”
Absolutely reckless. https://t.co/3O5GsbSLpM
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 2, 2021
Not long after multiple states’ mask mandates were removed, COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas decreased by at least 21 percent, and the rolling average number of daily new cases saw a 36 percent drop. COVID-19 case and hospitalization numbers also began to drop nationwide as the vaccine rollout in many states continued to expand.
Abbott later chastised Biden for insulting the state and condemned his virtue signaling about the virus.
“First, it obviously is not the type of thing that the president should be saying,” Abbott said on “Fox & Friends.” “But, second, he kind of said it on the worst day he could have, because the same day he said that in Texas, the Biden administration was releasing illegal immigrants into our communities who had COVID. … The Biden administration was exposing Texans to COVID. That is a Neanderthal-type approach to dealing with the COVID situation.”