Texas Governor Greg Abbott caught heat from Democratic lawmakers when he announced on March 2 this year he would fully reopen the state by the next week. Mississippi lawmakers declared a similar reopening plan about the same time.
The idea was to get more people acclimated back to normal life, including businesses at full capacity and sports arenas full of fans again. For Texas, the governor wanted businesses back at 100 percent and placed filled up again, from school halls to dance halls.
President Joe Biden called such reopening plans “Neanderthals thinking.”
“I hope everybody has 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 we are able to get the vaccine in people’s arms,” Biden said in the White House on March 3.
“The last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it. It still matters. … It’s critical, critical, critical, critical that they follow the science.”
Texas blazed its own path and reopened for business, and the Texas Rangers had a ballpark full of cheering fans for its home opener last month.
On Sunday, just a couple of hours after a major PGA event in Dallas and the NCAA FCS college football national championship in Frisco, Abbott reported that the state had no COVID-related deaths the previous 24 hours and that the seven-day positivity rate was the lowest it’s been since records have been taken—which was March 2020.
Biden expressed disappointment in those states that had plans to fully reopen, saying the goal was for every American adult to receive vaccinations before starting big gatherings, with a target date of July 4 for families to get together and celebrate.
“We’ve been able to move that all the way up to the end of May have enough for every American, to get every adult American to get a shot,” Biden said in March.
Biden was 0-for-2 against Texas when, after the Rangers baseball organization said it planned to open at full capacity following Abbott’s executive order, the president called that decision a “mistake.” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels shrugged off that comment and said he still hoped for a full venue on opening day, which he got.