BY MIA BERTRAND | STAFF WRITER
After 18 years of residency in Texas, I moved to New York in 2019. Since then, I’ve been back-and-forth between Texas and New York during the COVID-19 pandemic. I believe it’s fair to say I’ve seen the brunt of the pandemic in the eyes of both a New Yorker and a Texan.
There’s been distinct characteristics from the very beginning. As far as I know, no New Yorker threatened to spread the virus knowingly nor did a majority of them deny the existence of COVID-19 entirely. And this isn’t to say New York is superior in any way; we surely have our share of COVID-19 naysayers as well.
But speaking objectively, it is fair for me, a witness to both sides, that New York took the virus more seriously in terms of handling the situation right off the bat. This has a number of factors at play, of course, one of them being how densely populated New York is. But to say Texas didn’t need to take the same precautions early on, such as shutting down public areas and businesses, is just false.
Texas, from the beginning, was in the lead for being a plagued state with the virus, same as New York. The spread was rampant, and this was most likely the fault of the state not taking it seriously. I can’t help wondering what if they had educated the people better on the disease instead of making it a political issue, Texans would’ve worked harder to stop the spread thus sparing some lives.
And here we are again, facing the same problem because Texas as well as Mississippi has lifted the mask mandate before the COVID-19 vaccine has been provided to most of the population. So what does this really mean? In layman's terms, the lifting of the mask mandate means that civilians are no longer expected to wear masks when out in public.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is throwing out their masks and continuing on like everything’s normal; many businesses are still requiring those who enter their private property wear masks. What is more important is that Texas as well as Mississippi are moving towards being 100 percent open now, meaning the capacity for all businesses and facilities in the state are back to normal according to Governor Greg Abbott in Executive Order (GA-34).
My sole response to this since the news hit New York is what the hell are these people thinking? To call this reopening too early is an understatement. It’s absolutely reckless for everyone to pretend like the virus has gone away and that it’s business as usual now.
I understand the push for businesses to re-open up because people have been financially suffering and the economy has plummeted. But, what's worse, the suffering of a business or the suffering of someone who has lost a loved one from COVID-19.
By re-opening, Texas and Mississippi have put their own people in harm's way by essentially condoning the fictitious idea that COVID-19 is no longer a massive issue. I beg of you Texans and Mississppians to continue to take this pandemic seriously and urge you not to return to your regular schedules until the vaccine has been administered more.
As for my home state of Texas, I am so embarrassed to say that those who we have elected and put in-charge of our state made such a careless decision. I plead with Governor Greg Abbott to recall his executive order until more vaccines have been administered. Stay Texas strong.