Washington Post warns what easing Texas COVID-19 rules may do to rest if the country

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 state’s mask mandate and the imminent relaxation of other restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

In a scathing column, the newspaper’s board described the decision ― which comes as daily new infections plateau ― as “premature and reckless.”

Abbott was “gambling with the health of his state and beyond,” it said.

“The governor’s decision may cheer those feeling rebellious, fatigued and impatient with the year-long pandemic restrictions,” wrote the board. “But the result of opening too soon will be viral spread, and more suffering.”

“The winter holidays and the third surge were awful,” it concluded. “A fourth surge — which could spread beyond Texas — is the last thing the country needs just as vaccines are being rolled out. Mr. Abbott is throwing a match on kindling.”

Read the full editorial here.

Fears over Texas’ relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions were echoed by White House senior adviser Andy Slavitt, who described it to MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Tuesday as “a mistake.”

"It's a mistake": White House Senior Adviser for coronavirus response @ASlavitt reacts to Texas's decision to lift its mask mandates as cases rise across the state pic.twitter.com/zefws665KQ

— The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC 📺 (@TheBeatWithAri) March 2, 2021

Former White House medical adviser, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, warned Abbott’s move will “endanger the lives of millions of Texas.”

“This is his ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment and it is not a good one,” Reiner told CNN’s Erin Burnett. “We’ve seen this movie and doesn’t turn out well.”

Dr. Jonathan Reiner, former White House medical adviser, calls Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the mask mandate and allow businesses to open at 100% capacity a “gigantic mistake.”

“We’ve seen this movie and it doesn’t turn out well.” https://t.co/i4Kqf6wUGLpic.twitter.com/qMErJmqOkW

— OutFrontCNN (@OutFrontCNN) March 3, 2021

Austin Mayor Steve Adler (D) suggested Abbott’s decision was not based on data or science:

"We should be guided by the science and the data."

Austin Mayor Steve Adler rebukes Texas Gov. Greg Abbot's decision to end the mask mandate, says people in Austin and Dallas are "dumbfounded," adding the decision is not based on data and science: "Its based on something else." pic.twitter.com/4CbSWzNNjp

— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) March 3, 2021

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), meanwhile, called it a “death warrant for Texas.”

A death warrant for Texans.

Add them to the 44,000+ killed as he failed to confront the pandemic & botched the vaccine rollout.

And those who froze to death because he cares more about energy companies’ profits than keeping Texans alive.

Abbott is killing the people of Texas. https://t.co/2idUcqSjJT

— Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke) March 2, 2021

Related…

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Keith Olbermann's Hot Take On Texas Lifting COVID-19 Restrictions Goes Down In Flames

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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