Gov. Abbott never told the Texas Department of Public Health that he was ending state's mask mandate: report

Gov. Abbott never told the Texas Department of Public Health that he was ending state's mask mandate: report
Greg Abbott, now governor of Texas, speaking at FreePac, hosted by FreedomWorks, in Phoenix, Arizona

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) this week announced his plan to repeal a mask mandate and fully reopen the state. And according to Click 2 Houston, that decision is one the Republican governor did not discuss with Texas' Department of Public Health.

Three out of four of Abbott's medical advisors have confirmed that he "did not directly consult with them prior to the drastic shift in policy," according to Click 2 Houston. James Huffines, the fourth member of Abbott's medical advisory team who has served as a chair of the University of Texas System Board of Regents, said decisions were made based on hard scientific facts.

"Every recommendation, every action by the governor will be informed and based on hard data and the expertise of our chief medical advisers," Huffines said at the time. "Everything we do will be medically sound. These nationally recognized advisers are leading experts in their fields and we will rely on their knowledge and expertise every step of the way."

Dr. Mark McClellan, a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Duke-Margolis Center director for Health Policy at Duke University, pushed back against Abbott's decision as he admitted that ending the mask mandate too soon could have serious consequences.

"I don't think this is the right time," McClellan said in a statement. "Texas has been making some real progress but it's too soon for full reopening and to stop masking around others."

The pushback against Abbott's decision comes as the state ranks 49th in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. While Abbott is pushing to expedite the full reopening of the state, Texans are still facing substantial difficulties in receiving the vaccine. As of Thursday, March 4, the state of Texas has reported more than 2.6 million coronavirus cases and 44,708 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Texas now ranks as the second-hardest hit state in the U.S.

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