The editorial board of The Washington Post joined the growing chorus of criticism being leveled at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Tuesday after he announced the end of the stateâ€™s mask mandate and the imminent relaxation of other restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
In a scathing column, the newspaperâ€™s board described the decision â€• which comes as daily new infections plateau â€• as â€œpremature and reckless.â€
Abbott was â€œgambling with the health of his state and beyond,â€ it said.
â€œThe governorâ€™s decision may cheer those feeling rebellious, fatigued and impatient with the year-long pandemic restrictions,â€ wrote the board. â€œBut the result of opening too soon will be viral spread, and more suffering.â€
â€œThe winter holidays and the third surge were awful,â€ it concluded. â€œA fourth surge â€” which could spread beyond Texas â€” is the last thing the country needs just as vaccines are being rolled out. Mr. Abbott is throwing a match on kindling.â€
Fears over Texasâ€™ relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions were echoed by White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt, who described it to MSNBCâ€™s Ari Melber on Tuesday as â€œa mistake.â€
Former White House medical adviser, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, warned Abbottâ€™s move will â€œendanger the lives of millions of Texas.â€
â€œThis is his â€˜Mission Accomplishedâ€™ moment and it is not a good one,â€ Reiner told CNNâ€™s Erin Burnett. â€œWeâ€™ve seen this movie and doesnâ€™t turn out well.â€
Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) suggested Abbottâ€™s decision was not based on data or science:
Former Rep. Beto Oâ€™Rourke (D-Texas), meanwhile, called it a â€œdeath warrant for Texas.â€
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