Time to Open Up? Not So Fast, Experts Say

It appears some states have snapped under the strain of a global pandemic.

More than a year after COVID-19 arrived on American soil, a growing number of states are opening up, dropping their mask mandates, getting kids back in school and eliminating or reducing capacity limits in restaurants, theaters, bowling alleys and theme parks.

On March 10, Texas became the largest U.S. state to reopen, with Gov. Greg Abbott saying, in part, “Personal vigilance to follow the safety standards is still needed to contain COVID, it’s just that now state mandates are no longer needed. Texans should continue following medical advice on preventing COVID.”

His comments were at odds with “actual” medical advice, however. Health agencies like the CDC, WHO and other experts say it’s simply too soon.

While it is true that numbers across the U.S. are declining, reopening now could negate all the progress made in the past few months. And even with the addition of a third vaccine from Johnson and Johnson, we are still months away from achieving herd immunity.

These facts and figures aren’t resonating with a large population of Americans, however.

In Idaho, a group of anti-mask protestors encouraged their children to burn their masks outside the Capitol building in Boise, despite the fact that Idaho has never had a statewide mask mandate.

Small business owners, particularly those in the restaurant industry, are amassing huge fines for violating state COVID guidelines, citing the fact that the fines are often cheaper than the loss of business due to closures and capacity restrictions.

While healthcare experts understand the frustration, they maintain that it will likely be another two to three months before it’s safe to start reducing restrictions and could be much longer before things return to full pre-COVID normalcy, especially if states cave under pressure and throw caution to the wind.

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