Two months after President Joe Biden lambasted rollbacks of COVID restrictions in Texas as "neanderthal thinking," the state reported no deaths from the coronavirus on Sunday for the first time since tracking pandemic data.
Gov. Greg Abbott posted on Twitter Sunday that the case numbers, at 388, were the lowest in 13 months, that there were no new deaths, and that the number of hospitalizations had reached the lowest point in 11 months,
In early March, Biden slammed Texas and Missouri leaders and accused them of "neanderthal thinking" after they relaxed lockdown measures. Abbott at the time said businesses would be able to operate at full capacity, leading some experts to caution that dropping the measures could cause cases to spike in the Lone Star State.
"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," Biden said at the time. "I think it's a big mistake."
Abbott's announcement came just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance to say that it is safe for fully vaccinated people to forgo masks and social distancing in most instances.
Some states have said they'll keep their mask mandates in place, but many others have lifted them or are in the process of removing the rules in the upcoming weeks.
The CDC's new ruling came shortly after its director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, had warned of "impending doom" in places where guidelines had been eased. She said last week the new guidelines come after studies showing vaccinated people are at very low risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19.
Critics, however, said the move was more of a political play, with newly installed House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik claiming Monday that the guideline was an effort to relieve Biden's "worst week" in office as president.
Others asked if the move was intended to spur more people to be vaccinated while shot numbers are declining nationally.
Meanwhile, the CDC reports that almost 47% of the adult population in the United States has been fully vaccinated, and 60% have gotten at least one shot.
Sandy Fitzgerald ✉
Sandy Fitzgerald has more than three decades in journalism and serves as a general assignment writer for Newsmax covering news, media, and politics.
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